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Students Find Creating Covid-19 Tracing App for School Was Easy. Navigating Fault Lines of the Teenage Pull to Socializing Was More Treacherous.

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Amrit Baveja, one of the creators of the MarinTrace app.

Two students spent the summer building an app intended to help their private high schools in Marin County, CA, contain the spread of covid-19.

Credit: Ronnie Cohen

Marin County, CA, students Amrit Baveja and Beck Lorsch built iOS applications to help local private high schools contain the spread of Covid-19, hoping to encourage in-person attendance while maintaining pandemic safety.

Each day before school, the MarinTrace app queries students and teachers about their health, travel, and if any close contacts have tested positive for the virus, instructing users who answer yes to any question to stay home, and alerting school administrators.

About 50 students and 15 faculty tested MarinTrace at Branson high school, and Baveja and Lorsch assumed participants would be honest in self-reporting their interactions, with the student body signing a code of conduct to avoid large gatherings or parties.

However, some Branson students did not comply and attended Halloween parties without masks.

Silicon Valley computer scientist Pierce Freeman said, "At the end of the day, the tension is between privacy and the need for contact tracing, and each community has to make the decision about the trade-offs for themselves."

From The Washington Post
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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