How one university plans to contain coronavirus outbreaks

An exclusive look at how a special new app will track every single student on campus at the University of Arizona to slow the spread of the disease.
2:44 | 08/24/20

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Transcript for How one university plans to contain coronavirus outbreaks
We turn to our cover story about keeping college students safe from coronavirus. This morning we have an exclusive look at how one university is trying to contain outbreaks by using contact tracing and the covid watch smartphone app and Matt Gutman has the story from Tucson. Good morning, Matt. Reporter: Hey, good morning. Every student who comes back to campus gets tested right here. The samples taken in a golf cart across the treat to a lab and back here within a couple of hours but the jewel in the crown of this school's fight against covid is this app which not only gives a student their possibility of exposure but tells them a probability they'll be infected. Of course, all of this depends on student compliance. Millions of students are heading back to college this morning and over the weekend, some went back to partying. Cheek to jowl at bars in Iowa city, barely a mask in sight. At the university of notre dame where cases top 400, students penning a front page editorial, don't make us write obituaries. It's up to all of us to work together so we don't end up hurt and we don't end up hurting the community. Reporter: Which is how they view it at the university of Arizona. Welcoming over 5,000 students back to campus this morning, with a rigorous testing and contact tracing initiative. Like every other student this sophomore had to get tested before being allowed to move back on campus. Overall it's an easy process. Reporter: A centerpiece of the battle against covid is the covid watch smartphone app which notifies people if they might have been exposed. The app lets you know what your risk is and then walks you through the next steps. But according to the university's president, the key is students' compliance. Given all the closures we've seen in other universities around the country have you been able to learn anything from How in the world are we going to go back to classes when we can control all the stuff inside. I mean, the classes, you'll see splash guards, you'll see mandatory face coverings. What we can't control is what happens off campus. Right. And that's what's got everyone so concerned. Reporter: That's why the university president says there's a decent chance that they actually make it through the term without having to go to all remote learning. Now he really hopes but hasn't made it mandatory that everybody downloads that app. So far 8,000 have done so. Now, what distinguishes this app from other contact tracing apps is that it works not on gps technology but on bluetooth technology which helps make it anonymous. Cecilia. I'm sure you'll stay on that to see if it works. We turn to new concerns over

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