Attention College Students: You better not cough, you better not sneeze

COLLEGE STATION, TX (August 17, 2020): Today, Southeastern Legal Foundation sent a letter to Texas A&M on behalf of concerned citizens seeking clarification about its COVID-19 Reporting Form. Through the form, students can report other students for displaying any COVID symptoms, even suspected symptoms. The form opens the door to serious abuse. For example, the form asks for a list of all individuals who may have been in contact with a reported case 48 hours before symptoms even began.

SLF General Counsel Kim Hermann states, “It is easy to abuse this form. Imagine a student group gathering in a classroom to plan a speech event. Another student can report the student leader of the organization as symptomatic—without showing any evidence of a positive test or confirmed case. Then the student can name all members of the organization who were in the same room as the leader. Suddenly, the student organization can’t move forward with its planned event because they are all forced to quarantine based on this single report.”

In its letter, Southeastern Legal Foundation advised the University about the ways individuals could abuse the form, sought clarity about what the University plans to do with the reports it receives, and requested that the University consider the constitutional infirmities of reporting schemes like this one.

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