University mandates wearable COVID-19 tracker, sparking student protest

Despite the continued spread of COVID-19 throughout the world, schools have developed reopening plans for the fall semester  some with fully remote classes, others in traditional classrooms. Having opted to open both classrooms and residence halls, Michigan’s Oakland University will require residents and staff to wear COVID-19 trackers, a move that has led to a petition drive against the mandate.

Under the new rules, which students say were quietly introduced on a student life webpage at the end of July, resident students “must wear a BioButton,” a device introduced in May to continuously monitor a person’s vital signs for 90 days. Developer BioIntelliSense says that the coin-sized, disposable device can track temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, body position, sleep, and activity state with medical-grade accuracy, enabling monitoring of students, workers, and high-risk patients without their active participation. In theory, the technology could be useful for businesses and educational institutions interested in bringing people back into physical gathering spaces.

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