Headline, June 01 2021/ ''' '' STAR HONOURS STOP '' '''


 STOP '' '''

CORRALLING THE PANDEMIC WITHOUT CLOSING. Here is how cutting-edge tools helped a university keep its students on campus.

Student Shynell Moore, woke up with a headache and a sore throat. Ms. Moore, then just a few weeks into her junior year at Colorado Mesa University, pulled out her phone and fired up a symptom - tracking app called Scout.

Within seconds of her reporting the symptoms, the screen turned red. She might have Covid-19, the app said.

Each time she reported a symptom, the information was transmitted to Lookout, the university's digital Covid-19 dashboard.

Over the months that followed, Lookout evolved into a sophisticated system for tracking Covid-19 symptoms and cases across campus, recording students contacts, mapping case clusters, untangling chains of viral transmissions and monitoring the spread of new variants.

SERVING DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS : "We're trying to build technologies that can be used globally,'' said Dr. Pardis Sabeti. But a school is a great place to start.''

COLORADO MESA HAS THE most sophisticated system in the country to track outbreaks,'' said Dr. Pardis Sebeti, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard who has helped health officials around the world respond to Ebola, Lassa Fever and other infectious diseases.

''It's definitely the kind of analytics that people talk about having, but nobody has actually access to in this way.''

Lookout is the product of a partnership between C.M.U. - a medium size school in the high desert of Western Colorado that prides itself on serving disadvantaged students - and the Broad Institute, a cutting-edge genomic research center in Cambridge, Mass.

Together, they have turned C.M.U's 10,000 student campus into a real-world, real-time epidemiological laboratory, experimenting with creative approaches to pandemic management. Not everything has gone perfectly according to plan - a university cannot be entirely cordoned off from the wider world.

But the lessons they have learned and the tools they have developed could help institutions around the world better manage future outbreaks, Dr. Sabeti said.

In 2016 and 2017, mumps broke out across Massachusetts, hopping from one college campus to another. Dr. Sabeti worked closely with state epidemiologists, watching them map case clusters on scraps of paper and log data in increasingly unwieldy Excel spreadsheets. It was painstaking, time-consuming work, and the insights were ''really hard-earned,'' she said.

In the years that followed, Dr. Sabeti and her postdoctoral fellow Andres Colubri worked with the design firm Fathom to develop a symptoms-tracking and contact tracing app that could be used in future outbreaks.

They were still developing the app, which became Scout, when Covid-19 hit. ''Five year plans turned into six- month plans,'' Dr. Sabeti said.. Fathom raced to finish the app, while Dr. Sabeti looked for a place to test it.

She had begun advising colleges around the country on their coronavirus responses, but C.M.U. based in Grand Junction, Colo, immediately stood out. ''We were looking for somebody who was scrappy, hungry, ready to go,'' Dr. Sabeti said. ''And we felt there was a need there.''

Like many schools, C.M.U. had suddenly suspended its in-person classes mid-March 2020. College students everywhere were facing the same educational disruption.

But C.M.U. administrators worried that their students - two-thirds of whom were students of color, low - income or the first in their families to go to college - might be permanently derailed by a semester, or longer, spent entirely online.

And so the administration made a decision: In the fall, it would bring students back to campus. All of them. ''It became really obvious very quickly - this was a moral imperative,'' said John Marshall, the school's vice president. ''We had to find a way to go back.''

Mr. Marshall and Amy Bronson, who directs CMU's physician assistant program, took charge of the campus coronavirus response. When they first connected with Dr. Sabeti in the summer of 2020, they told her about C.M.U.'s can-do, community spirit and their determination not to make it a ''less than'' year for students.

They also sent her a music video that students had made about returning to campus safely.

As the teams began to talk, it soon became clear that their work together would go beyond piloting an app.

They devised strategies for testing, planned for worst case scenarios and mapped new learning experiences, including a for-credit seminar. ''Leaning in : Leadership in the time of the Pandemic.'' [Dr. Sabeti and the governor of Colorado were both guest lecturers].

''C.M.U really had this really bold desire to be back and to revive in-person education,'' said Kian Sani. a special projects adviser to Dr. Sabeti.

''So we really put our entire team and efforts into supporting that mission.'' The teams just clicked, he said. ''It was basically like. 'Let's all hold hands - without actually holding hands, because it's a pandemic.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Thinking Solutions and Corralling the future pandemics on campuses, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Emily Anthes.

With respectful dedication to Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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