Innovative health check helps keep Niner Nation safe

Monday, September 21, 2020



UNC Charlotte has launched its own Niner Health Check to help protect the community from the spread of COVID-19. The required daily health assessment is part of the University’s comprehensive approach to testing and contact tracing. 

“The Niner Health Check was designed and built for our needs by an in-house University team to ensure we could quickly assess the health of our campus community and connect people to critical medical resources,” said Rick Tankersley, vice chancellor for research and economic development, who is leading the University's testing and contact tracing efforts. “The tool helps students and staff assess their symptoms, gives guidance on when to seek medical care and alerts campus offices of potential COVID cases so that they can take steps to prevent exposure and slow its spread. The health check also enables us to integrate information across multiple systems to better understand our campus’s potential infection rate and implement quarantine and isolation protocols.”

Rolled out to employees and on-campus students on Sept. 1 and to all students on Sept. 7, the health check asks respondents to report if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or exposed to anyone who has, have any new or worsening conditions that may be symptomatic of the virus and their plans for coming to campus for the day. 

Based on the answers, individuals are instructed to quarantine and seek guidance for a COVID-19 test, isolate because of a positive or potentially positive test, or continue with their daily plans. 

When an individual’s response indicates they have or may have COVID, they enter into a protocol overseen by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

Led by Director Chris Gonyar, OEM plays the role of “air traffic control,” ensuring individuals are being assigned to right next steps, such as contact tracing or connection to Human Resources for support. 

“With the Niner Health Check, a positive test result can be quickly identified and the case assigned to our contact tracing team,” said Gonyar. “Our tracers can then reach out to identify other individuals who may have been exposed and notify those individuals to avoid campus pretty quickly. This makes the entire University safer.” 

For individuals who are symptomatic but not yet tested, the process will also instruct them how they can arrange testing with their primary care provider or through the on-campus testing center. 

The Niner Health Check replaces the manual form and database the University began using in March. 

The Office of OneIT was responsible for building the new assessment tool and ensuring its integration with the University’s new, more robust COVID-19 dashboard. 

“We worked with many subject matter experts from across the University to make this project possible,” said Jason Dominiczak, solution architect for OneIT, the project’s lead. “We identified a number of areas where we could increase situational awareness and reduce duplicative work with the goal we all share of keeping Niner Nation healthy.”