Using digital technologies to support pandemic response on campus: A case study in the opportunities and challenges of WiFi

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Abowd, Gregory D.
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Our campus operations were abruptly shut down on March 13, 2020 due to Covid-19, and the campus has not been the same ever since. This has impacted our educational and research mission at Georgia Tech. On the bright side, it has activated a number of collaborative efforts to help Georgia Tech prepare itself for re-opening safely. Whether or not we are successful this Fall 2020 semester, our efforts now will undoubtedly be useful for the future. Everyone has heard about the practice of contact tracing now, and the mad rush for digital solutions to fight against the spread of infectious disease. The CampusLife effort in the School of Interactive Computing (Profs. Abowd, Plötz and De Choudhury) found an opportunity to pivot our research in this direction We are exploring the opportunity to support manual practices of contact tracing with information from the campus wireless network infrastructure. I will give an overview of this effort and report on progress to date. This is very much a work in progress, but it demonstrates some important lessons for all of the GVU community. First, solutions to real problems involves lots of different skills sets and perspectives. Second, there is very interesting balance between public health and privacy, a conversation I hope to engage our community as a way of determining potential solutions.
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52:23 minutes
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