As COVID-19 cases surge across the country, the university system is struggling to contain the spread of the disease and keep classes open. Sara Alert Academic is available now by subscription for university officials to securely automate the monitoring of students, faculty, and staff exposed to or infected with COVID-19 or any infectious disease, a press release said.
The software platform is tailored to the unique needs of universities and colleges, providing an automated workflow to allow health staff to rapidly prioritize and respond to student and staff needs. It customizes what a university will need to streamline the process, such as student identification, housing information, and tracking by university-specific areas, such as campus buildings or sports teams, the press release said.
“Sara Alert Academic provides secure infectious disease monitoring and reporting tailored specifically for universities,” said ORAU Vice President of Research and University Partnerships Ken Tobin. “It can help keep campuses operating safely through increased efficiency in tracking potential exposures and monitoring confirmed cases, leading to earlier containment and isolation, and reduction of burden on limited resources.”
Students, faculty, or staff with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, called monitorees, are enrolled into Sara Alert Academic by the university, the press release said. Sara Alert Academic sends automated messages to monitorees each day via text or email. Monitorees respond to these messages, reporting any symptoms they may be experiencing. Sara Alert Academic segments monitorees into one of two workflows based on their response: exposure or isolation. Universities can use these workflows to determine and prioritize follow-up needs, referrals for care, and overall campus status, the release said.
Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and MITRE, a nonprofit chartered to work in the public interest, have partnered to deploy Sara Alert Academic, tailored specifically for university use and available by subscription, the press release said. Sara Alert Academic is an adaptation of the original public health monitoring tool Sara Alert. Sara Alert is a standards-based, open source tool created by MITRE that allows public health officials to monitor individuals at risk for COVID-19, enabling real-time insights and increased reporting capability for early containment of the virus.