How the symptom checker is combating rapid COVID-19 spread

Isabel Brown

The symptom checker, which is to be filled out before going to campus, is one more thing to think about as long as in-person classes are in session and campus is open, but how this tool works has remained a bit of a mystery to students.

Symptom tracking is a way for CSU to be in the loop of where potential COVID-19 cases may arise. When symptoms are reported, contact tracers then work with the student or staff to determine who they may have had close contact with.


“CSU’s symptom tracker system is a model for other universities,” said Lori Lynn, co-chair of the Pandemic Preparedness Team and executive director of the CSU Health Network. “And it is part of the University’s commitment to the health of our entire University community.” 

The University is dedicated to creating an environment on campus that seeks to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, according to the COVID Recovery website. Thus requiring all faculty, staff and students to follow public health orders, including the daily symptom checker.  


“Contact tracing is as effective as the community makes it.” -Taylor McCoy, contact tracer for CSU

However, with this new task, there is now the ever-present worry of forgetting to do the symptom checker. But will wandering on campus without recording your current health status in RAMweb affect your ability to go to class?

“Professors cannot see symptom tracker information,” Lynn said. “Because this is medical information, it is protected. Results are available to the public health office.”

According to Lynn, if students report any concerns, the public health office then works with the professors for their classes directly. It is simply a tool used to combat and slow the spread of COVID-19.

While the University is discouraging attending large social gatherings while campus is open, according to the CSU COVID-19 Recovery website, its first priority is the safety of everyone on campus. Reporting any symptoms will not get students into trouble, Lynn said. 

“Providing this information to CSU public health officials is an important part of the big picture in keeping our community healthy and staying open,” Lynn said.  

So, what happens when students report symptoms to the symptom tracker?

Taylor McCoy, a contact tracer for CSU, described their job as, “identifying close contacts of those who are known positives for COVID-19 or presumed positives based on symptoms.”


The close contacts are asked about the nature of the interaction with the individual in question, which then helps calculate the risk of the potential exposure, according to McCoy. 

“Contact tracing is as effective as the community makes it,” McCoy said. “The CSU community has been doing a great job.”

According to the CSU COVID-19 Recovery website, it is possible to receive a call from a contact tracer even without having symptoms to report. It’s still important to answer these calls, as the caller may have important information about any close contact exposure the student may have had.  

Close contact exposure is being “within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated,” according to the CSU COVID-19 Recovery website

“The symptom tracker is simply a tool to help contact tracers get in contact with individuals who develop symptoms over the semester,” McCoy said.  

As of Sept. 20, there are 238 cumulative cases at CSU, with over 2,000 cases in Larimer County. 

Isabel Brown can be reached at or on Twitter @isabelbrown02.