University of New Mexico uses campus ID cards to combat spread of Covid-19

University of New Mexico Zimmerman library building
ENTRY TRACKING: The program is being used in the university’s Zimmerman and Centennial libraries

The University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque, USA, has introduced an ID scanning program at the entrances to its busiest campus buildings to collect contact information and improve the contact-tracing process during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Shared Location Entry Tracking program uses scannable documents such as the university’s own proximity ID card, the LoboCard, or a driving licence to capture the identity of all individuals, including vendors, contractors and visitors, entering buildings. It also eliminates “in most instances, the need for the manual collection of contact information to share with the New Mexico Department of Health contact tracing team”. 

“The impetus behind Shared Location Entry Tracking is to strengthen our ability to do contact tracing should an individual in our community test positive for Covid-19,” says UNM senior vice president Teresa Costantinidis.

“We have a good sense of where individuals might be on campus based on our daily Lobo Check-In data and what we know about student enrolment in in-person courses.

“But we do not know if someone had been in a shared space like Zimmerman Library or the SUB, and if someone who was in those spaces tests positive, we want to be able to reach out to others who were there.”

The system has been installed in UNM’s Zimmerman and Centennial libraries and Student Union building (SUB), with a wider roll out to other buildings and high traffic areas “under consideration”.

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