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Mayor Stoney asks 4 Richmond colleges, universities to require the COVIDWISE app

VDH and Gov. Northam announced the launch of the COVIDWISE app, an exposure notification system
VDH and Gov. Northam announced the launch of the COVIDWISE app, an exposure notification system(COVIDWISE.org)
Updated: Aug. 24, 2020 at 5:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In a letter to four college presidents, Mayor Levar Stoney is asking Richmond colleges and universities to require students and staff to download the COVIDWISE contact tracing app.

In the letter, the Mayor writes “all community members including the Reynolds, UR, VCU and VUU administration owe accountability to their neighbors. The reality is that your students, while a welcome addition to our city, are arriving from all around the nation and the world under the guidance of university administration.”

Stoney says the app works ‘silently and unobtrusively to anonymously track the spread of COVID-19.”

NBC12 reached out to the four colleges and universities mentioned in the letter, while none of the institutions explicitly said they are requiring the app to be downloaded, UR, VUU and Reynolds said they are heavily promoting and encouraging their communities to utilize COVIDWISE.

Reynolds College began classes Monday, and a spokesperson confirms there has been one reported positive case of coronavirus and it was a staff member.

Virginia Union University has an ongoing move-in process that the university says will continue through Labor Day. Each student was assigned a specific day and time to move into their residence hall, and they have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to move in. In a wellness update sent to the campus Monday, VUU confirms one case. They did not specify if it was a student or staff member.

VUU confirms one case of COVID-19--a spokesperson did not specify if it was a student or staff...
VUU confirms one case of COVID-19--a spokesperson did not specify if it was a student or staff member.(VUU)

UR has provided a dashboard to track new cases, there have been 11 cases on campus since July 1st. On the school’s website, there is a tab dedicated to Contact Tracing and COVIDWISE.

In a statement, a spokesperson said, “The University of Richmond has been encouraging the campus community to download and use the COVIDWISE app to assist with contact tracing since its launch by the Commonwealth. The UR community was notified about the app on Aug. 10, 2020, and there have been additional and ongoing promotions on UR’s COVID-19 response website and social media channels.”

VCU did not respond to NBC12′s request for comment about the Mayor’s letter, but the university has been updating its community daily with a dashboard found online.

As of Monday, Aug. 24, VCU is reporting 72 cases. There are 43 isolated students who are positive for the virus, and 62 quarantined students who were possibly exposed.

VCU said residential students were mailed COVID-19 testing kits before moving in. Of those entry tests, 4,401 students tested negative while 15 resulted in being positive for the virus.

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