Virus Action Team update: "Staying Safe" order takes effect, GVSU has new digital tool to help track COVID-19

iPhone showing NOVID app.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski

Testing for COVID-19 within the Grand Valley community is at a new high and positive results remain low. 

GVSU has conducted 3,067 tests over the past seven days, with no positive cases on campus and seven positive cases off campus reported October 1. Going into the weekend, the number of active cases is 100. For a full look at the data, see the university dashboard.

With the number of positive cases declining, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) worked with the university to move students living and studying in Allendale from a “Staying in Place” order to a “Staying Safe” order. 

The new order became effective October 2, 2020, and will continue through October 16, 2020. While the order applies to students, all faculty and staff are encouraged to set an example and wear face coverings at all times when outdoors on campus.

New tool for tracing

The university has a new digital tool to help track COVID-19 and help prevent its spread. Its use is entirely voluntary and strongly encouraged. 

NOVID uses a smartphone’s Bluetooth and ultrasound sensors to accurately and anonymously measure how far away other NOVID users are, as well as how long users have interacted. Once a user reports a positive case, using the app with a token generated by the university, notifications are sent to their NOVID network, without displaying any personally identifying information.

NOVID is completely private and anonymous and underwent an Independent Privacy review by Georgia Tech and the GVSU IT Team. The university only receives aggregate and non-identifiable information through an online dashboard. The tool is being used at universities around the country.

To join the GVSU community on NOVID, download the app at novid.org or in your app store and under “Settings” enter “GVSU” as the community.

Students enrolled this Fall semester and who join Grand Valley’s NOVID community are eligible to be entered into a drawing to be awarded one of four $500 grants. For details on this and more information on the app, visit: www.gvsu.edu/novid.

iPhone showing NOVID app.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski

Self-assessment incentives for students

Students who complete their self-assessments each day may receive $200 toward the Winter 2021 semester. All the details are available through Financial Aid. Faculty and staff are also expected to complete the self-assessment daily, and all on campus are expected to wear face coverings indoors and outdoors.

Winter 2021

Classes will begin Tuesday, January 19, the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration. Spring break has been eliminated, and the semester will end on May 1. This results in a 15-week semester, consistent with past semesters; instructional time is unchanged. University operation is unchanged – offices will be open beginning Monday, January 4. GVSU has developed three options for Winter 2021 courses: fully online, a hybrid model and face-to-face instruction.

Lakers Together

The Lakers Together website is updated continually. The COVID call center (616) 331-4636 continues to operate from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on weekends. Personal health concerns should be directed to the GVSU/Spectrum Health 24-hour call center (833) 734-0020. Questions and concerns can also be directed to virusactionteam@gvsu.edu.