The REACH app helps keep the Dana Hall campus safe

As Dana Hall students arrive at school each morning, they are required to show the green check on their phones to an administrator showing that they’ve completed the daily health screening for COVID-19 symptoms. Only then are they allowed on campus. The app our community uses is called the REACH app, and all students, faculty, and staff members must complete the app survey every day they are on campus.

Ms. Donna Corrigan, the Dean of Boarding Life at Dana Hall and creator of Dana’s REACH survey, along with Pia Manna, the Director of Health Services, monitor the app and the data it collects. The app and specific survey for Dana was designed in an effort to be clear to people filling it out whether they should come to school or not, and to be something that is not overly time-consuming, Ms. Corrigan describes. 

The survey will either give you a green check or red X to show if it is safe for you to come to school, depending on your answers to the questions. For example, if a student says yes to having a headache, she will be allowed to come to school, whereas if a student says yes to having a fever and other symptoms, she will not be allowed to attend school. In the case that a student does have some symptoms, the Health Center at Dana would then contact the student and talk to them one on one to see how they are feeling. 

As Ms. Corrigan says, “A spreadsheet can be downloaded each day, which shows who completed the survey and who was present on campus daily.” She mentions that in addition to doing the survey, the app can assist with contact tracing, as it has a feature that can track student locations on campus. If a student tested positive and had just been in the Dining Hall, the app can identify who was in the same location.

The REACH app, a student management system, is widely used by schools. As the REACH website describes, their app “significantly improves how schools implement policies and procedures on campus, providing consistent and automated response mechanisms for requests, permissions, student tracking, welfare and discipline. REACH also ensures that relevant information can be rapidly and easily shared amongst staff and is easily accessible to your entire boarding community.”

Dana Hall boarding students started using the app in the 2019 – 2020 school year for surveys such as permissions, invitations, and sign outs. This summer, Dana Hall approached the REACH company to see if there was any way the app could be used to address COVID challenges. Ms. Jessica Keimowitz, the Head of the Upper School, says that the REACH team “are super responsive.

Not everyone is convinced that the app is keeping the campus safer. Marissa Esposito ’22 says, “I think that it is not too useful because people just click ‘no’ for everything especially if you get to school late, but it is also better than having no type of system to check.”

Ms. Corrigan recognizes the possibility of some students answering the questions automatically, but the School didn’t want the survey to be an ordeal that took a long time each day; if this were this case, people would eventually not want to take the survey and dread it. She says that the REACH app is “helpful to the community from a daily health screening standpoint.”

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