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COLUMBIA - Columbia College is introducing a new strategy to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on its campus. 

The new plan requires students to obtain a wristband every morning before they can go to their in-person classes.

In order to get a wristband, students must complete the Symptom Tracker in the Student Health Portal of CougarTrack and must participate in a temperature screening each morning. 

Columbia College Dean of Student Affairs Dave Roberts said the idea came from campus move-in day.

"On our move-in day at the college, we handed out wristbands to parents and family members who were helping students move in," Roberts said. "So the idea came out of, 'Hey we did that here and it was really easy to see, why don't we do the same thing for our students for daily check-ins?'"

According to Roberts, Columbia College has around 1,000 students on campus during the day.

Classes began Aug. 31 and has a 'high-flex learning system' in place, meaning students can choose class-to-class and hour-to-hour whether to attend class virtually or in-person.

Roberts acknowledged that the smaller student population allows the school to try new things like the wristband strategy, easier than larger schools.

"We have a good thing going over here at Columbia College, being a small school," Roberts said. "I think us opening late, us having this high-flex option enabled us to do some things [larger schools] wouldn't be able to do, because we're able to rapidly communicate with our students."

According to the school's latest data, Columbia College has just nine active student cases, and only one of those cases is a student who lives on-campus.

The school began the wristband strategy last week in what Roberts called a "soft open," meaning it was strongly recommended, but not required.

Starting Monday, a wristband is required to attend classes and students can be turned away from class for not having one.

Columbia College freshman Alaina Gunn said she didn't mind wearing the wristband at all.

"It's trying to control our COVID cases, and I think it's doing pretty well."