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Scanning stations provide no safety for students or insight for Valley College

The college’s self-check survey and newly implemented scanning stations offer a false sense of security amid recent malfunctions.

Opinion by Cassandra Nava, Editor-in-Chief

Valley College's recently installed scanning stations have done little to offer any safety to students and faculty. (Graphic Illustration by Matthew Royer / The Valley Star)

Only 10 buildings on campus are outfitted with scanning stations for students to verify their Cleared4Class pass this semester, but with no enforcement, data monitoring and malfunctioning scanners, Valley College’s efforts bring more confusion than clarity.

Valley’s website states that in order to access campus facilities, a student or faculty member must follow a two-step process of filling out the self-check questionnaire and scan the QR code’s “clear pass.” In the first week of the spring semester, check-in scanning stations in the business journalism and humanities building were out of order. On Feb. 10, students were sent an email from from the district with the subject; “Cleared4 Check-In Stations are Temporarily Down; If Visiting the Campus, Still Do Your Self-Check Screening.” About an hour later a follow-up email was sent stating that the check-in stations were operational again.

The scanning stations, which were installed as early as last fall — and are hardly more than a chromebook placed on a desk — have proven themselves an ineffective way to keep track of a student’s clear pass. Despite the malfunction of the scanners districtwide, classes and buildings remained open, proving the uselessness of the scanners.

The enforcement of using the check-in system is nonexistent, which begs the question of how many students are attending classes with symptoms of COVID-19. Students can choose to ignore the option to scan (or even skip the symptom check entirely) because there is no accountability.

According to President Barry Gribbons, the college is hiring office assistants to configure the data on a “regular basis” and follow up with students who do not self-check and scan in for the day. The hiring process started on Feb. 11.

“Any student who is not in compliance with any of the requirements should expect to be contacted by those staff members,” said Gribbons. “Our focus will be bringing students into compliance, so we’ll be doing our best to work with the students.”

In their current state of perpetual malfunction, the scanners do not offer any protection to students or faculty. But the issue of accountability does not boil down to the scanner; schools do not have the ability to review a history of Cleared4 symptom self-checks, meaning there is no way to prove that students actually use the system that is supposed to keep them safe.

The two-step system is flawed, but with indoor masking enforced there is at least one constant. Although the college may be acting quickly out of concern for student safety, the new systems are sloppily implemented and offer a false sense of security. The college should focus on creating guidelines for these systems that students will actually follow, otherwise the whole process will continue to be fundamentally useless.

The abundance of rules and emails forced down students' throats can cause more harm than good, confusing them or possibly deterring them from taking in-person courses.

Unclear guidelines only further students’ confidence in what is designed to create a safe return to campus, resulting in a lack of trying to comply with a system that has not proven to be successful.

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