Updated Aug. 27, at 10:42 a.m. to include quotes from a student.
The Elon University COVID-19 dashboard is now showing data representing all students in quarantine, including those who live off-campus or in single rooms, according to Owen Covington, director of Elon University News Bureau.
Originally, students who were quarantined in single rooms or in off-campus housing were not reflected on the university’s quarantine dashboard online, although they were being counted, according to Covington.
“The intent in reporting the number of students in designated quarantine spaces was to reflect the capacity for quarantine that the university has on hand,” Covington said. “The addition of the number of those quarantined in their assigned rooms or in off-campus housing was added to provide a more detailed picture of the number of students impacted by quarantine or isolation.”
Although the off-campus students were being counted in coronavirus numbers, according to Covington, the original intent of the quarantine dashboard was to reflect the remaining amount of quarantine spaces at the university.
This comes after a student expressed concerns over the dashboard online.
Elon student Kelly Simonson made a TikTok — which was later posted to Twitter — on Monday reviewing screenshots of Elon University’s COVID-19 dashboard. In her video, she said that even after she contracted the virus and put six other people in quarantine, she and the other students were not being represented on the dashboard.
Simonson said originally she made the TikTok just to vent, but more people ended up sharing her thoughts than she anticipated.
“I called it a conspiracy theory on my Twitter, and while I was being a little tongue-in-cheek, part of me was like, ‘I’ve been in isolation for a week with nothing but these semi-paranoid thoughts, let me ask my audience,’” Simonson said. “My audience ended up being bigger and more affirming than I anticipated.”
Cynthia Simonson, Kelly Simonson’s mother, said that although she didn’t feel like the university was purposely trying to mislead people, there was a gap in the original data.
“It’s great that you want to keep families and students informed, but if you’re not providing the full information, or if you’re providing a subset of information, that can lead to false security,” Cynthia Simonson said. “It’s not in anyone’s best interest for there to be a subset of information made available.”
After her daughter’s video went up, however, she said it was only a matter of hours before the website was updated reflecting all of the data for students in quarantine.
“Before I could even find the number to call the right person to get it taken care of, it was already done, which is really to Elon’s credit,” Cynthia Simonson said. “So they updated the page to include her now after her video went up.”
There are currently 62 students in quarantine and 17 cases of COVID-19 on campus, while Alamance County has reported a cumulative total of 2,955 lab-confirmed cases as of today.