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Law School News

STCL Houston Introduces ReturnSafe App to Streamline Safe Entry to Campus Amid COVID-19

As students begin the fall 2020 semester on the South Texas College of Law Houston campus, they’ll start their day after one essential prerequisite: registering their health status on the school’s newly implemented ReturnSafe app.

This state-of-the-art app — which uses Bluetooth technology via individuals’ smartphones to track potential COVID-19 exposure or infection — prompts all campus entrants to answer a series of health questions prior to entering the building. If cleared by the app, students, faculty, staff, and visitors will receive a daily, dated electronic “badge” they are required to present to the school’s Security Desk prior to entering the building. Those not cleared by the app are prohibited from entering campus and are provided with directions on necessary COVID-19 testing and quarantine procedures.

Those without smartphones must follow a daily, manual check-in process at the Security Desk before entering campus.

Individuals who suspect they may have been exposed to or infected with the coronavirus must immediately report this information to the law school through the app or via email to

“With a vaccine months away, it is inevitable that one or more members of our community will be diagnosed with COVID-19 this year,” said STCL Houston President and Dean Michael F. Barry. “With the ReturnSafe app, we can identify the people who were in contact with a diagnosed individual and need to quarantine — while keeping our doors open and our community safe.”

In addition to identifying potentially exposed or infected people, the app also manages the confidential notification process to those who have come within six feet of these individuals.

The ReturnSafe app is geo-fenced, meaning it only identifies individuals while they are on the STCL Houston campus. Once members of the STCL Houston community leave campus, the app no longer tracks their movement. To ensure the app’s efficacy, all individuals visiting the law school are required to keep their smartphones with them at all times and their devices’ Bluetooth turned “on” throughout the duration of their stay on campus.

The ReturnSafe app is one of many new accommodations STCL Houston has implemented for the fall 2020 semester to help protect the health of the South Texas family during the coronavirus pandemic.