ProtectWell simplifies COVID-19 decision-making for higher ed

Newly released CDC guidelines on in-person learning for primary and secondary schools have reinvigorated the conversation around how we “do” school during a global pandemic. Schools walk a fine line between honoring those concerned about higher COVID transmission rates if students return to classrooms and those worried about students’ academic success and lack of mental health and social support services if virtual-only learning continues.[1],[2]

Institutions of higher education, such as colleges, also must balance these competing concerns.

Adapting in-person learning

Although higher education is better suited to distance learning than primary education, off-campus learning does not work for all courses. A primary example is laboratory courses requiring specialized equipment. Institutions have adapted by making cohorts of students (alternating and staggering schedules), marking seating to ensure the recommended three-foot distance is maintained, and assigning equipment to individuals instead of sharing among groups (whenever applicable).[3]

ProtectWell helps students make informed decisions

Another unique challenge for higher education is how to isolate students who have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms. The CDC recommends not sending sick students home to limit COVID-19 spread.[1] Colleges have adapted by quarantining students in their dorm rooms and re-housing roommates or moving sick students to temporary alternative quarters.

Since quarantining sick students is more difficult for higher education, students must be vigilant in checking symptoms and tracking exposure to stop the spread of COVID-19. The ProtectWell app is the ideal symptom-tracking tool for students over the age of 13 because they can reliably report their symptoms. ProtectWell helps students make informed decisions about attending classes by tracking physical health daily and exposure risks.


[1] Operational strategy for K-12 schools through phased mitigation. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation | CDC. Updated February 26, 2021. Accessed March 1, 2021.

[2] I’ve tried everything: Pandemic worsens child mental health crisis. National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/01/18/953581851/ive-tried-everything-pandemic-has-cut-options-for-kids-with-mental-illness. Published January 18, 2021. Accessed March 3, 2021.

[3] Considerations for institutions of higher learning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html. Updated December 31, 2020. Accessed March 19, 2021.