Texas A&M University-San Antonio has terminated wellness check stations after wellness checks were no longer required because of the lifted mask mandate.
A new feature on the Jaguar App will replace the wellness stations. Staff, faculty and students on campus must perform these self-screenings.
The university implemented wellness check stations in fall 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wellness stations last operated Aug. 13.
Kathryn Funk-Baxter, vice president for business affairs and financial officer, said the decision to remove wellness stations was made early in the summer.
Funk-Baxter said a few factors influenced this decision, including Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order removing the mask mandate.
“Our wellness stations were checking for face masks when you came in the building and since that was no longer required, that was one of their job duties that went away,” Funk-Baxter said in a Zoom interview Aug. 17.
After the mask mandate was removed, there were four wellness stations left on campus. There was limited activity in the stations, Funk-Baxter said.
People were no longer stopping at the stations. Some faculty members also stopped checking for wristbands.
“There was a general lack of interest in participating in the wellness check points that we had,” Funk-Baxter said.
Funk-Baxter said kiosks were proposed to replace the wellness stations, but did not seem like an efficient idea.
The university decided to add a self-screening feature to the existing Jaguar App that would replace the wristbands given in the wellness stations.
“We thought people would really gravitate more towards the app because they don’t have to stop (and) it also takes less time,” Funk-Baxter said.
The self-screening can be done before arriving on campus. The self-screening provides a time stamp so faculty, staff and students can pull up their results at any time during the day.
Faculty, staff and students will be asked the same questions asked in the wellness stations. They will be asked yes or no questions and be asked to verify their responses to ensure all answers are accurate.
The self-screening asks if you have received a positive COVID-19 test in the last 10 days, are waiting for test results or have recently traveled internationally, among other questions. Those who receive a screen with a red ‘x’ must not be on campus.
Funk-Baxter said a case management group will be notified of anyone who receives a red ‘x.’ Those with a red ‘x’ will be provided with additional information and instructions on how to proceed.
The app does not record body temperature, unlike the workers at the wellness stations. Funk-Baxter said she believes the company that provides app programming is working on developing a temperature check feature for the self-screenings.
Students are required to complete their self-screening before attending in-person classes as part of safety protocol.
“As a university, they are obligated to follow our safety protocols,” Funk-Baxter said about faculty asking students to verify they have completed the self-screening.
Funk-Baxter said campus community members must download the Jaguar App to complete self-screenings. They can also use it to access other information such as bills, parking permits, events and receive emergency notifications among other features.