Albion Adjusts to the NAVICA App

Sophomore McKayla Porter holds her phone with the NAVICA app. The NAVICA is a new app students are required to use for COVID testing on campus (Photo Illustration by Jeanie Gould-McElhone).

The Aura app is now a thing of the past. After the two-month break between the fall and spring semesters, students are now required to download the new NAVICA app to track rapid COVID-19 test results faster and ensure a safe on-campus experience. 

Chief of Staff Kelly Finn is part of the college’s COVID-19 team. As such, she explained that administration adjusted COVID-19 protocols over the break to include rapid testing this semester. While the previous test took 24 to 72 hours to get results,  the new test delivers results within 15 to 20 minutes. 

“This semester, to ensure that our community stays healthy, we will be using Abbott BinaxNOW tests to administer 15-minute rapid antigen testing to students, faculty and staff. Abbott’s COVID-19 app, NAVICA, pairs with the company’s rapid antigen test to deliver results quickly and securely to individuals,” said Finn via email. “All students, faculty and staff are required to download NAVICA to receive their COVID-19 testing results. NAVICA can be downloaded from both the Apple Store and Google Play, free of charge.” 

The changes were made based on feedback from students, faculty and staff, all of whom requested a faster test. Feedback from the Albion College community also informed administration that most members didn’t like  that location services were required to be turned on in the Aura app to help with contact tracing. Some people believed that this was an invasion of privacy.

“I think NAVICA is a much better alternative compared to the Aura app. I felt uncomfortable with the Aura app tracking me and felt sort of trapped at school, with NAVICA, I like how you get your test results fast and efficiently but at the same time, don’t have to worry about being tracked’ I think the switch was definitely been for the best and I’m very excited that NAVICA was the app of choice” said Keiley Black, a first-year from Sylvan Lake.

One benefit of the NAVICA app is that it will not be used for contract tracing, so students aren’t required to keep location services turned on. That being said, the NAVICA app isn’t without it’s problems. Delia Nieves, a first-year from Cleveland, Ohio, expressed some trouble with the change. 

“I haven’t had a good experience with the app so far,” said Nieves. “It hasn’t even let me create an account. So, when I got tested last time, I wasn’t able to use it. I’m not sure why they didn’t stay with Aura, because they had everything we needed.”

But, according to Finn, staying with the Aura app wasn’t a possibility. The current COVID-19 test that the school is utilizing, the Abbott BinaxNOW test, only works with the NAVICA app. So, keeping the Aura app was never an option. Albion’s COVID-19 team felt that the change in app was worth making the switch to the faster test. 

Albion students, faculty and staff who are having trouble making the app work can troubleshoot problems on the Abbott website.

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