The University of Michigan will launch the accessible, mobile-friendly website ResponsiBLUE on Aug. 24 to help keep university community members healthy and reduce the spread of COVID-19. A downloadable mobile app will be available soon.

“Our goal is to help everyone understand whether they are at-risk, to connect individuals to relevant university resources and to provide insights and visibility to the state of public health at U-M,” said Robert Ernst, associate vice president for student life and executive director of University Health Service.

All faculty, staff and students entering U-M buildings are required to use ResponsiBLUE to meet state regulatory requirements for health screening. Those working or studying remotely may use ResponsiBLUE as part of a daily health-check routine, but are not required to use it. The aggregated data gathered will provide useful information about the overall health of the U-M community.

“ResponsiBLUE is the next generation of Healthscreen, which was a web tool used widely in the university’s health system and research,” said Ravi Pendse, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “The new tool, which incorporates authentication, will be used across our entire university community.”

After logging into their U-M account, individuals will be asked three yes or no questions based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public-health guidance related to COVID-19 symptoms and contact with others.

Contingent on the responses, individuals will receive a green screen with a check mark that is good for 12 hours, and that indicates they can enter U-M facilities that day. Having to present the green screen may be expected in some university building locations.

Alternatively, individuals will receive a red screen, indicating they should take specific actions based on university guidelines and the directions on the red screen, which include remaining at home.

“A red response does not mean that the person needs to be tested for COVID-19,” Ernst said. “The prompts within the screening tool are designed to help community members make thoughtful and informed choices about next steps, such as seeking appropriate medical care if needed.”

ResponsiBLUE meets the state of Michigan regulatory requirements for health screening. The daily health tracker still needs to be used in concert with university policy regarding the use of face coverings, maintaining social distancing, practicing frequent handwashing, avoiding large gatherings and staying home when sick.

Information collected by the screening tool will be managed by U-M’s Information and Technology Services in accordance with the university’s privacy policy. Details can be found on the ITS ResponsiBLUE website.

“We acknowledged that many faculty, staff and students will be fluid in terms of their comings and goings to campus, but the hope is that most will make this a routine,” Ernst said. “Those who have symptoms will receive guidance and the system as a whole will benefit from the aggregate information about the overall status of the population.”

ResponsiBLUE will be updated and enhanced over time to include additional features that assist the community in making health-informed choices to help keep the U-M community as safe as possible during the pandemic.

“We want everyone to have a fruitful and productive academic year,” Pendse said. “ResponsiBLUE will help the university to achieve that outcome.”

Note: This article has been edited from its original version to clarify requirements for using ResponsiBLUE.

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