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What you need to know about GuideSafe, the new COVID-19 app for Alabama colleges and universities

A new platform called GuideSafe will provide testing and give schools and students information on COVID-19 a classes resume.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Leaders from colleges and universities across Alabama joined health leaders to introduce GuideSafe, a platform to help schools, students, and the community manage COVID-19 as students head back to school.

The platform, built by UAB and Birmingham-based MotionMobs in conjunction with ADPH and integrating Google and Apple's ENS, is currently in a pilot phase. College students across Alabama will be invited to participate, and any individual in the state of Alabama with a .edu email address is encouraged to sign up to participate in the pilot phase. 

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What is GuideSafe?

GuideSafeTM is a multitool platform encompassing the formerly announced Stay Safe TogetherTM and Testing for Alabama initiatives. There are three key parts:

GuideSafe also provides free COVID-19 testing to students and staff. Testing is required for every student attending a public or private four-year college in the state of Alabama, and all two-year college students who reside on campus are required to participate. The testing is via a non-invasive nasal swab–based procedure. Students are required to have a negative test result or complete a quarantine for a positive test result before returning to campus.

Why are schools doing this?

“Our ability to test every student returning to campus is essential in helping us maintain a safe environment,” said Selwyn Vickers, M.D., dean of the UAB School of Medicine. “Through this partnership with Governor Ivey and the state of Alabama, we have the ability to make testing available across the UA System and to all public and private colleges and universities statewide.” 

GuideSafe provides a one-stop, universal-across-campuses, place for COVID-19 information to be distributed, people to report symptoms, and school and community members to access Notifications alerts to find out if they might have been exposed to the virus.

Users are also reminded of actions they can take to reduce the spread of the virus.

Do I/my student have to use this?

Students, faculty, and staff returning to any higher education institution this fall must use at least the HealthCheck portion of the app.

The use of this HealthCheck allows schools across the state to monitor infection levels and make decisions for the health and well-being of everyone on or who may come on campus.

How do I get tested?

Free GuideSafe testing sites will be available across the state. Anyone who used private testing or a non-GuideSafe test site will be required to provide their results as directed by their school.

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I don't want people knowing where I am and what I'm doing.

The creators of GuideSafe Exposure Notification app say they have addressed this concern:

Participation with the GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification app is voluntary and is designed to protect privacy while anonymously alerting each user of potential exposure to those who have tested positive to COVID-19 within the past 14 days. The GuideSafe™ app enables individuals to make decisions best for them and their loved ones, such as seeking medical advice or staying home. To preserve user privacy, the ENS assigns random number codes to each user, ensuring all parties remain anonymous to each other and to the system itself.

Its Event Passport tool uses the a person's Health Check information to create a passport that they can present at facilities, meetings, and events

GuideSafe™ Event Passport helps decision making when it comes to facilities, meetings and events with 10 or more participants. After completing HealthCheck, an algorithm renders an event passport for presentation at events. Green: you are clear to attend. Red means you should not attend. No personal information is shared with the event.

WATCH: Representatives from UAB, UA System, and Alabama Department of Public Health announce the launch of GuideSafe.

GuideSafe™ Press Conference

We’re live with representatives from UAB, UA System, and Alabama Department of Public Health announcing the launch of GuideSafe, a multitool platform. GuideSafe is the uniting platform/brand for ongoing communication about COVID-19 testing, tools and actions, and was developed by a team of experts at UAB to promote a safe entry to higher education campuses and ongoing COVID-19 monitoring for students and the community at large.

Posted by UAB - The University of Alabama at Birmingham on Monday, August 3, 2020

RELATED: GuideSafeTM Platform will help higher ed. campuses deal with COVID-19