With students back on campus and in the classroom, the University of Maryland (UMD) has turned to QR codes to enable rapid COVID-19 contact tracing.

Under the new program, students are asked to scan QR code stickers that are located throughout classrooms on campus. UMD says the resulting seating or location records will enable the University Health Center to easily identify those who have been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Instructors are asked to remind students to scan the stickers, which are located on chairs, tables, or specific classroom zones at the beginning of each in-person class period.

To further limit the spread of COVID-19, the university said it is asking students to sit in the same seat or location and remain aware of who they have close contact with during group activities.

UMD tapped its Divisions of Information Technology, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs as well as Facilities Management to develop and deploy the new system.

UMD isn’t alone in using QR codes to limit the spread of COVID-19. New York State’s Excelsior vaccine passport program also relies on QR codes. The voluntary and free vaccine passport, called the Excelsior Pass, uses a verification app to enable the verification of health credentials such as test results and vaccination records. Each pass has a secure QR code that venues can scan to confirm someone’s COVID health status.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs