Someone Needs to (Hawk) Check the Students

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Published September 25, 2020
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The Montclarion
Katlyn Pruitt | The Montclarion

Over the summer, Montclair State University students were told by administration they needed to complete Hawk Check before move-in and any time they wished to step foot on campus.

Hawk Check is an online forum which gauges students’ risk of spreading COVID-19 to the campus community by asking a few simple questions.

However, this system proves rather ineffective, as it doesn’t hold students accountable to complete their Hawk Check and therefore puts campus health at the mercy of the student’s diligence.

Hawk Check is intended to be a safeguard for the students. It makes sure that people don’t have COVID-19 symptoms or have not visited high-risk states. This sort of questionnaire is not uncommon and can be found in places like doctor’s offices or hair salons.

If any of the answers give the impression this respective person may be at risk for spreading the disease, they are not to be admitted to the establishment.

Now, there are some instances on campus where Hawk Check is mandated for people. For example, students must complete Hawk Check before going to workout at the campus recreation center or attending a live organization event.

These types of checks are imperative for something like Hawk Check to work. There needs to be some sort of incentive.

This is the problem. Aside from events and work, there is no reason to do Hawk Check.

I’m not denying what Hawk Check is doing is important. In fact, it is vital for campus safety. Allow me to throw a scenario at you, however, to prove my point.

Katlyn Pruitt | The Montclarion

Katlyn Pruitt | The Montclarion

You are a student. You have three midterms, five papers, two books to read and countless assignments to submit on Canvas. The last thing on your to-do list is Hawk Check.

You go home to relax for the weekend. Your uncle comes over to see how things are going. He breaks out into a coughing fit.

You are so stressed you think nothing of it. Worse, you keep repeating that although you feel sick, you can’t miss this midterm. You go to your one in-person class anyway.

You didn’t fill out the Hawk Check because you were so busy studying that you forgot. Your class is now potentially infected because of your actions.

This student remembered his grades and assignments over Hawk Check for a reason. There are consequences if you don’t do them. You can get an F, you might even have to take that course again.

There are no consequences if you don’t submit your Hawk Check before you step onto campus. Nobody is there to survey.

The problem, however, is that there are far too many students to police their submissions. No one will be checking up on every single one of our thousands of students every day to ensure they filled out their Hawk Check.

There is no clear solution to this problem. Hawk Check, in theory, is a great idea. There needs to be some sort of safeguard for the campus.

The format of the app itself, however, doesn’t account for the lack of motivation students may have to abide by it. A popular mentality among people is, “If I don’t have to do it, then why should I?”

Montclair State needs to work on the “should” question in order to safeguard the campus itself, as well as its community.

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