AUT Makes Scanning in Mandatory Following Poor Scanning Rates

By Justin Hu (he/him)

Students and staff returning to campus must scan in with the AUT app to allow for contact tracing, the university says.“


At levels 2 to 4 there is a more stringent requirement for tracing that government QR codes don’t reach, hence the need to use the AUT app,” the university said in a statement.This follows low usage of contact tracing apps before the most recent Covid-19 lockdown.


AUT 's app logged low usage at the beginning of this semester, according to a request for information by Debate.


With only around 80 check-out scans a day, the university said that the app was not designed to be used at alert level 1. The AUT app had shown higher usage following the end of March’s snap lockdown with an average of around 450 check-out scans every day.


“In line with the government advice, we would not expect high levels of scanning with the AUT app at alert level 1,” said university spokesperson Alison Sykora.


The university says that students and staff can switch to using the government’s NZ Covid Tracer app while at level 1.


Before the latest outbreak, health experts had said the rate of scanning with the Covid Tracer app was "abysmal" and would contribute to prolonging new outbreaks in the community. At the time, researchers from the University of Otago wrote that the rates were at 5 percent of what they should have been.


As a result, the government has now mandated contact record-keeping for businesses with large gatherings. The change applies to nearly all public-facing businesses with the exception of shops and retailers.


It also includes cafés and eateries on university campuses. Patrons will now have to either scan in or manually register contact details with businesses.


Mandatory use of the AUT app is separate to the government’s changes to record-keeping requirements.


Unlike the Covid Tracer app, the AUT app stores contact tracing details on university servers for 30 days before they’re automatically deleted. The government app only stores data on a user’s device.