Join the Virtual Outbreak at BYU
See if you and your friends can avoid the virus spreading during the entire simulation through social distancing, virtual vaccines, and virtual masks!
BYU Operation Outbreak is providing BYU students with an opportunity to learn about social behaviors, infectious diseases, and protective interventions during the simulated spread of a “virtual pathogen” for nine days. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the virus that causes COVID-19 will be the focus of this simulation.
How Does It Work?
Operation Outbreak, which was developed by a talented team at Harvard/MIT, runs within an app that simulates spread of an infectious disease among participants. Specifically, the app takes into account the social interactions of participants as the disease spreads. This app uses Bluetooth to record anonymized interactions and tracks the spread of the virtual pathogen. You will be able to see how well you are doing via feedback on the number of contacts, virtual symptoms, virtual health status, and more. Participants can reduce their chance of being exposed to the virus by getting a vaccine for their simulation.
To join the simulation, the Start Code is “byu21”
Welcome to Operation Outbreak BYU! We are excited that you’re joining us to learn together and take part in a virtual on-campus outbreak. Sounds pretty crazy, right?
It is. And it’s awesome.
Our goal is to gain a better understanding of the vaccination requirements necessary for BYU to reach herd immunity on campus. To accomplish this, it requires the participation of a portion of the population. That’s where you come in. You will be playing a part in helping BYU understand how to create a safe environment on campus.
Here’s the rundown:
- SIMULATION STARTS THIS FRIDAY. We have a pre-sim survey (~3 min) for you to take. This will help us learn about your thoughts and feelings about vaccines and Covid-19 on campus.
- DOWNLOAD THE OPERATION OUTBREAK APP. We’ll be sending the start code to you Friday morning.
- LIVE YOUR NORMAL LIFE. Go to classes, sit with friends, social distance. Live your daily BYU routine. The app will tell you if you get infected. See more FAQs on our website.
- WATCH FOR VACCINES. Starting Monday, we’ll have a limited number of vaccines available to everyone (i.e., QR codes). We’ll be sending emails like this to tell you how many vaccines are available that day.
- KEEP YOUR BLUETOOTH ON. This is a nine-day simulation. That’s a lot of battery power! But we need your participation — all our participation — to make this work. Trust me, the data we get from this could be... let’s just say, epic.
The simulation works better with more people participating. So invite your friends! Sign-ups will be closing this Thursday at 11:59pm so invite your friends to sign up.
Thank you so much for your participation!
The OO-BYU team
As the BYU community progresses through the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are still many unknowns that deal with social behaviors, vaccine hesitancy, and other factors. This simulation will enable students to better understand how protective vaccinations will be on BYU campus. Participants will learn how their daily routine can result in exposure to any current or future pathogen, and how to best overcome the effects of COVID-19.
Note about privacy: The OO app keeps track of the dynamics of the outbreak by generating anonymous data: random identifiers for all devices, transmission events between those identifiers, total number of infected participants, and their simulated health status ("infected", "recovered", "dead", etc.) This data will enable subsequent visualization and analysis of the outbreak, but the app will not collect any kind of identifiable information, such as name, phone number, etc. The OO app will need to keep running in the background of each device. The app will only gather data during the simulation between Friday, February 19 and Monday, March 1. After the simulation ends the OO server will no longer record anything from the app.