Upper School students wear motes for Influenza Project

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by Apoorva Rangan

On Tuesday, January 24, members of the student body participated in a study for the Harker Influenza Project by wearing motes throughout the day.

The motes kept track of their interactions with motes worn by other students when they come within a radius of six feet.

“When we were here previously, we wanted the students to wear the motes for the day so we could track who they interacted with so we could look at contact networks in the school,” said Penn State researcher Dr. Vicky Barclay.

Students were given the motes at the beginning of their first period class and asked to sign a form. For this experiment, no parental signature was necessary.

“We don’t really need a signature for the mote wearing,” Barclay said. “It’s not essentially an intrusive process and we’re also not going to use the person’s name [since the student interactions are confidential.]”

“[The information] is completely private,” Barclay said. “As soon as we have [the students’ email addresses], we delete the names, and all that’s left is a number for each mote. We’re not really interested in the person, per say, but in when and how two motes interacted.”

Participants returned the motes at the end of the academic day.