Durham, NH – Starting this semester, the technology of the Wildcat Pass is said to be improved and usage is expected to be ramped up to ensure the safety of those in the UNH community.
On Monday, Jan. 11, the President of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) James W. Dean sent out an email stating that all students must sign the Wildcat Pledge in order to return to any UNH campuses and have a valid Wildcat Pass, the system that proves students’ coronavirus (COVID-19) protocol compliance. The Wildcat Pledge is a document that explains the expectations and rules that students must follow during the spring 2021 semester at UNH amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
By signing the Wildcat Pledge, students would agree to adhere to all protocols set by UNH such as participating in regular COVID-19 testing, wearing face coverings at all times, and maintaining physical distancing.
According to a public LinkedIn post by UNH Vice Provost of Innovation and New Ventures Marc Sedam, the new technology will “not only say whether it is valid/invalid, but provide the reason why directly in the app. All participants will receive an email and text message if a sample hasn’t arrived in the lab within two hours of its expected time and given instructions on how to fix it. And we’re still committed to a 24 hour turnaround time for results.”
However, these new features caused errors for some students when it came to taking the steps necessary to have a valid Wildcat Pass, such as proof of a negative test, the quarantine attestation, an updated profile and a signed Wildcat Pledge.
Although UNH stated that students’ Wildcat Pass will be valid within 24 hours after students have signed the Wildcat Pledge, some students’ Wildcat Pass remained invalid even after a few days.
On Jan. 17, justice studies and political science student Nicholas Crosby voiced his concerns on a Facebook group consisting of UNH seniors called “University of New Hampshire Class of 2021.” In his post, Crosby said, “Anyone else having a problem with their Wildcat Pass being invalidated because it states that you haven’t signed the pledge? I keep signing the form each time it keeps getting invalidated and don’t know if it’s me or if anyone else experienced the same issue.”
Within a few hours of posting this question, Crosby received several replies from other students stating that they are facing a similar problem.
The Wildcat Pass has seen stricter enforcement as students begin to arrive. Now, students, faculty and staff are required to maintain a valid pass to access any campus facilities. Students are now required to have a valid pass in order to pick up their COVID-19 tests for the spring semester.
This updated profile requires students to update their local information in order to aid UNH in contact tracing. The quarantine attestation form requires students residing outside of New England to certify that they have been in quarantine for at least 14 days.
But even after completing all four forms, students like biomedical science major Lauren Schoeller still did not manage to receive a valid Wildcat Pass. In the same Facebook post by Crosby on Jan. 17, Schoeller commented, “Yes, I have the same problem (invalid Wildcat Pass), even though I signed the pledge and submitted a negative test.” Schoeller further clarified that she would send an email to the UNH COVID response team if this issue remains unresolved.
Students are encouraged to reach out to the COVID-19 Hotline at 603-862-2020 if their pass is invalid.