App State vs. COVID

With the ongoing safety hazard that is COVID-19, Dr. Ludwig and the HR Science Team set out to empower and utilize App State students to become active participants in slowing the spread of the virus by motivating infection control behaviors across campus such as wearing a mask and washing hands regularly. This mission is App State vs COVID.


Connor Linden, second year IOHRM student, shared:

“This past semester we developed a strategy to motivate students to adhere to infection control behaviors, wherein we encouraged students to record positive and negative behaviors that they observed in their day to day lives. Our goal was to get the app used for this (Habitood) into the hands of as many students as possible - this is because when people observe other behavior, they are more likely to consider their own. Each week, we analyzed the data to see how much people were following infection control behaviors as well as which areas posed the most risk. Our data over time suggested that we were capturing some of the variability in what was actually happening, wherein our data demonstrated when cases were rising vs. falling. For multiple reasons (online only learning, students leaving campus to go back home), we were unfortunately not able to gather as much data towards the end of the semester.”


Their website shows the data that they collected for the first six weeks of the semester. Additionally, it shares how the infection control behaviors are conceptualized:

  • Use hand sanitizer or wash hands for 20 seconds after entering a dorm/apartment and before and after to the bathroom/eating
  • When you remove your mask, make sure you remove it by the ear straps
  • Sit two chairs apart from others when in common areas on campus such as the library, dining halls, and lobbies
  • Use stairs instead of elevators to limit close interactions with others and to allow those with disabilities safe access
  • Put on a mask when within six feet of people who you don’t live with

Looking towards next semester, the App State vs COVID team has two goals: 1) Get Habitood into the hands of as many students as possible (like last semester) and 2) Collect reliable data. To accomplish these goals next semester, the project has three prongs. First, the team is partnering with Residence Life to help them create an initiative with Habitood to get students observing behavior while also hopefully engaging in safe behavior as well. Last semester they found that most observations recorded (as well as unsafe behaviors) were happening at dorms - which makes sense. Second, the team is training HR Science members to properly collect data (much like they were having students do last semester). The difference this time is that through training, they can assure that the data being collected is real and reliable. Third, the team is participating in Universities vs COVID, a partnership with colleagues at other universities who are engaging in similar projects, to compare data on behaviors that are being observed. Currently, the team is developing a shared data collection protocol, which will inform the HR Science team on how and where to collect data.


“Ideally, we are hoping to create a heat map of campus to show where unsafe behaviors are currently happening each week - this can hopefully aid the University in taking appropriate measures to curb the spread of infection”  - Connor Linden


If you are a member of the Appalachian State and/or Boone community, please download the Habitood app to assist with this research and intervention. For links to download the app, access their website through the link provided above. Stay smart and stay safe through their recommended infection control behaviors.

Published: Dec 9, 2020 11:08am