Staff and students are required to adhere to coronavirus screening process implemented by the university.

Wits University pioneered a screening app called Logbox Patient, through which students and staff are urged to self-screen on a daily basis prior to entering university precincts.

The app was made ready for download in June, more than a month before the second semester commenced on Monday, July 13.

Logbox Patient uses a questionnaire to screen for symptoms and possible exposure to covid-19. Based on a completed set of questions, the app may deny or grant the user access to the university premises.

Esté Smith, a legal councillor for Logbox Legal Services, says that the data collected by the institution via the app serves as proof of conformity to government-imposed screening regulations. “The university uses the data to monitor the number of students in attendance on campus,” said Smith.

She added that the data “supports campus health services to facilitate clinical management of students and staff that may be at risk with reference to coronavirus”.

As a part of its services, the app allows staff and students to have control over who has access to their information and when, and it permits the user to share their medical information with their healthcare professionals.

In an email sent out to the student body by the Wits Senior Executive Team (SET), it is stated that students and staff are required to show their clearance note to the security officers before entering campus premises.

Magdaline Makhekhe, a security guard working at the main entrance gates, says, “Before you get in, they [security] check. If you don’t have it (Logbox Patient) on your phone, you will need to fill in the form,” she told Wits Vuvuzela.

Makhekhe says that although people may answer dishonestly, it is still their duty to carry out what has been stipulated by the university.

Vuyisani Thindleni (64), a security officer working from the metro bus head office on west campus says that his colleagues are also required to screen every day before reporting for duty. “My colleagues have been trained about the app,” he said. “But I use a small phone (non-smartphone) so I can’t download the app, but I use the forms instead.”

Thapelo Lekala (22), a third-year medical student says that although the app is convenient and user-friendly, he still doesn’t think it’s necessary. “I’ve been here since the 28th of June and I’ve only used the app twice.” He added that the Logbox Patient app cannot be reliable as it is “very easy for a person to lie on the app”.

Mbalenhle Motsweni (21), a fourth-year BCom accounting student from the University of Pretoria says that there isn’t “anything like that [app]” at the institution, however permits must be produced before entering campus.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple store or the Google Play store. The form can be found here.

FEATURED IMAGE: Students and staff are advised to fill in the self-screening form daily prior to occupying university precincts. Photo: Palesa Mofokeng.