Entry Pass: VCU using digital tool to enforce on-campus COVID-19 rules

VCU student Liza Hazelwood uses Entry Pass on her phone to confirm her compliance with daily health checks before entering Shafer Court Dining Center. Photo by Enza Marcy

Katharine DeRosa, News Editor

Sagal Ahmed, Contributing Writer

In order to access some VCU facilities this semester, students and employees will have to present a mobile or printed pass that indicates they are keeping up with university COVID-19 regulations.

VCU established Entry Pass on the first day of classes to serve as a daily reminder to all on-campus students and employees to complete mandatory daily health checks and asymptomatic testing if applicable, according to Director of Communications Carolyn Conlon

“Now, more than ever, it is important to strictly follow all public health measures and limit the spread of COVID-19,” Conlon said in an email. 

An entry attendant will ask those entering VCU facilities to show their Entry Pass, which is accessible through the VCU Mobile App and online at the tool’s website. If the health check and asymptomatic surveillance testing are completed, then the entry pass will give the student or faculty member access to the facility they are trying to enter. 

Entry Pass will be used at these VCU locations:

  • University Student Commons
  • Hunton Student Center
  • All VCU Libraries locations
  • Shafer Court Dining Center
  • Recreational Sports facilities: Cary Street Gym, MCV Campus Recreation Center, Thalhimer Tennis Center and Cary Street Field

Users can display their cleared Entry Pass on a laptop, phone or with a regularly updated printed version. 

The pass will display either a green check, a yellow warning or a red X. Here’s what those symbols indicate.

  • Green check: User has completed daily health check and surveillance testing, if applicable.
  • Yellow warning: User is participating in asymptomatic surveillance testing but hasn’t booked an appointment or failed to show up to one. This warning lasts for one week.
  • Red X: Either a daily health check or asymptomatic testing has not been completed. Daily health checks can be completed in the moment by answering on a device, or by completing a series of questions relating to safety measures from the attendant before being allowed into the building. If it’s related to a failure to comply with testing, then access to the building will be denied. 

Freshman special education major Blyth Feuzeu began the fall 2020 semester completing their health check daily. As the semester continued, the check became just another email, and Feuzeu began to forget. 

“I think it’s supposed to be a thing about mindfulness,” Feuzeu said. “People just don’t read it.” 

Freshman art foundations major Catherine O’Connor said she understands the new protocols surrounding the check and thinks the only thing that will change for her is remembering to check her email in the mornings.

Students sit and talk outside Shafer Court Dining Center. Students will have to show their entry pass before entering this building. Photo by Jon Mirador

Both Feuzeu and O’Connor expressed concerns over being locked out of Shafer Dining Court and other dining locations for forgetting to do their checks. Feuzeu said they worry that Entry Pass will be a “major inconvenience” to those who don’t have “pocket money” to go buy food if they are denied access.

Conlon said the only way someone would be denied access to a building is by failing to schedule or show up for testing within one week of being notified. In other cases, the Entry Pass user can enter by completing their daily health check or after reviewing safety and compliance requirements with an employee at the door.

VCU will continue to conduct asymptomatic surveillance testing on students and faculty members every week to monitor COVID-19 within the community.  

Asymptomatic surveillance testing is mandatory for all residential students and those who attend classes on campus, as well as on-campus and telework employees.

VCU Rec Sports will continue to apply modifications made for the fall semester, such as spacing out equipment in facilities to allow 10 feet of separation. Director Derek Hottell said group exercise classes are capped at nine participants and one instructor, per state and university health guidelines.

Hottell said in an email that VCU has allowed sports to continue because the size of recreational facilities allows for social distancing. However, sports clubs are not allowed to travel for competitions. Rec Sports offers virtual programming for those who don’t want to exercise in person.

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