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Sarasota Military Academy will launch COVID-19 contact tracing software

Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sarasota Military Academy and SMA Prep will be the first schools in the world to use the novel contact tracing program called “SCOUT.”

Community Outreach Director Dr. Todd Brown told 8 On Your Side the app will help keep administrators ahead of a possible COVID-19 outbreak.

Students who participate in the program will log on to the app, enter their credentials, and select which symptoms they’re feeling in real-time.

“If someone were to be absent, there doesn’t need to be phone calls and things of that nature. We can just go to either centralized or de-centralized hub, and see this information as it occurs,” explained Dr. Brown. “Then we can take that information internally, we can cross-reference that with attendance, we can also cross-reference that with the school schedule and then seating charts so we can see who is exhibiting what symptoms, where they traveled, when they traveled and also who was seated around them.”

Brown says the symptom-tracking, contact tracing platform as been in the works for years. Top scientists from MIT and Harvard worked to develop the software.

Parents can choose whether or not they want their student to participate in the program.

“It is going to be an opt-in/opt-out situation for parents and students. It is a privacy-based secure cloud-based server, so what we are looking at is everything is de-identified and then it is centralized in a school location in which the people that will have access to personal information are the ones that already have access to your personal information,” said Dr. Brown.

He assures parents the software is safe, secure, and HIPAA compliant.

Brown told 8 On Your Side he has brought the program to Sarasota County Schools.

“We have offered it to the county, we would love to have the county involved,” he said.

A spokesperson with Sarasota County Schools told 8 On Your Side the district is aware of the software and is considering it.

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