Health and safety are top of mind as the world continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic. As University of Phoenix students anticipate a potential return to campus, the University’s security team wants to ensure their well-being is at the forefront.The security team routinely informs students across the country — whether they attend on a physical campus or online — of potential safety concerns to help them be prepared, make informed decisions, and remain safe. Now, the security team is taking communication a step further with the launch of the new Phoenix Safety mobile app.
Students and alumni can now opt to receive real-time communications from the University’s security team through the customizable app available for iOS or Android devices. It features easy access to messages and information, including updates on natural disasters, online classroom technical issues, campus threats and much more. The most relevant feature is a regularly updated banner highlighting priority messages related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steve Lindsey, senior director of corporate security, said Phoenix Safe will augment the current mass notification and security communications, providing additional features related to campus news, important safety guidance and easy access to safety support.
“This is a one-stop shop for all of the resources the University has to offer to help people through their journey with us,” Lindsey said. “The app will be a resource whether you’re on campus, at church, eating at your favorite restaurant or at home.”
Universities throughout the country have been looking for effective ways to alert students in real time, Lindsey said. A mobile app is a way to provide information in a more modern way. The app’s key functions have been specially designed with the well-being of students, faculty, staff and alumni in mind, for both on-campus and online environments.
UOPX corporate security manager Eric Opp said Phoenix Safe was rolled out for use by staff members in September and received a positive response. The ability to customize the app means there is potential to adjust the features and make updates based on feedback and the needs of the University.
“This application is going to evolve as the environment and needs of the campus community do. Whether it’s COVID-19 or other life safety concerns, we can adapt the user experience to accommodate,” Opp said. “We’re really excited for the larger
University of Phoenix community to make use of the app, both at school and in their everyday lives.”
The following features are available through the app:
- Priority message banner — This feature is immediately visible when the app is opened and will spotlight priority messages that are updated regularly. Presently, the message is focused on keeping students, faculty and staff apprised of the latest pandemic information.
- Emergency response guide — With information on myriad potential safety situations, ranging from response to natural disasters to active shooter situations, the Emergency Response Guide provides tips and resource contacts. It does not require an active data connection, meaning it will always be available on your phone, regardless of whether you have service or access to Wi-Fi.
- Campus push notifications — Whether you are a student who attends classes on a physical campus (once they resume), a faculty member who travels between campus locations or an alumni who wants to remain connected, Phoenix Safe allows you to select alerts for as many University campuses as you would like.
- Virtual Walkhome — Intended for use in the on-campus environment, this feature allows the user to drop a pin at their destination through the app, and campus security will remotely monitor the user’s travel path through the mobile phone’s location services. Upon arrival at their destination, the user can click a button to let the 24/7 security center know they have arrived safely. Virtual Walkhome also includes an emergency button if immediate assistance is needed.
- Friend Walk — Similar to Virtual Walkhome, Friend Walk will share your location in real time with a friend in your phone’s contacts list so they can keep an eye on you from afar.
- Report a tip – From reporting a water leak on campus to witnessing a physical altercation or overhearing a concerning conversation, this feature allows users to alert campus security of concerning situations quickly, anonymously and in real time.
- COVID self-assessment — For now, this feature is used only by staff members who are entering a Phoenix Campus facility. The user fills out a self-assessment form through the app, verifying they are free of COVID symptoms and have not been in contact with someone known to have the virus. Filling out the form provides the user with a green QR code that can be scanned upon entering the building.