Dartmouth College Deploys K3 Temperature Screening

By Zach Segal, Published on Sep 29, 2020

While Dartmouth College has a $6+ billion endowment, the College has bought dozens of the K3, one of the lowest cost temperature screening systems, 90%+ less expensive than most 'fever cameras'.

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Notably, in IPVM's test of 20+ temperature screening systems, the K3 did comparably quite well.

How did Dartmouth come to this decision? How is Dartmouth using the K3s? What else is Dartmouth using as part of their overall Coronavirus countermeasures? Inside this note, we answer these questions.

Executive Summary

Dartmouth told IPVM they picked the K3 because they were contact-free, available in the quantity they required, quick to ship, and accurate. They are using the devices as personal temperature stations for daily check-ins as opposed to fever screening for entry to buildings, in line with CDC guidelines. The daily check-ins are also only part of their coronavirus safety plan that involves testing, social distancing, masks, travel restrictions, infrastructure changes, contact tracing, and quarantining.

Dartmouth Picks K3s for Accuracy and Availability

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Dartmouth told IPVM that they chose the ~$100 K3 because they were contact-free, available in the quantity they required, quick to ship, and accurate:

The main criterion for our internal selection of infrared touchless thermometers were the supply, turn-around time for delivery and testing accuracy.

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IPVM Finds K3s Fairly Accurate and Cost-Effective

IPVM has found K3s to be fairly accurate and easy to use despite being one of the cheapest options at ~$100. In our tests of K3s, they performed comparably to handheld IR guns in temperature-controlled areas and were more accurate than most of the alternatives we tested. K3s work well in a temperature-controlled environment but suffer from poor accuracy in heated or humid rooms. In addition, false-positives can be triggered by people measuring their temperature after sweating or being outside in the sun because they measure the forehead. K3s are easy to use and convenient because they are contact-free and can be used without a second person.

K3s Used for Self Screening as Public Thermometers

Dartmouth is using the K3s as thermometer stations for people without personal thermometers so they can complete daily Coronavirus symptom checks. Dartmouth requires students and staff to complete daily electronic coronavirus symptom checks that include temperature. If people don't have access to thermometers, they are told to use one of the K3s distributed across campus. Dartmouth told IPVM the 32 K3s were placed in areas that had high foot traffic or density:

Placement was based on foot traffic patterns and population density of the buildings/areas.

This is notably different from many places that use temperature screening for entry to buildings and Dartmouth's strategy matches CDC guidelines:

Screening and health checks are not a replacement for other protective measures such as social distancing.

Consider encouraging individuals planning to enter the workplace to self-screen prior to coming onsite

Dartmouth Using "Multi-Pronged" Approach

Dartmouth is using testing, social distancing, masks, travel restrictions, infrastructure changes, contact tracing and quarantining as well as daily symptom check-ins as coronavirus prevention measures. The college told IPVM that:

Screening symptoms of COVID is one part of the response to our pandemic plan.

Prior to entering campus or leaving dorms, students and staff have to complete health questionnaires. Dartmouth said they are conducting regular random PCR tests and are regularly cleaning surfaces plus have installed higher-rated filters for their HVAC systems. They told IPVM they are quarantining and testing everyone on arrival to campus. They have established guidelines for mask-wearing and social distancing. They have also limited the number of students who can return to ensure social distancing and quarantining is possible. More information is available on their website.

Fever Camera Comparison For Colleges

With 32 devices, fever cameras would have cost the College ~$300,000 vs the ~$3,000 they paid for all of the K3s they bought.

More importantly, like many college campuses, Dartmouth is distributed across dozens (if not hundreds) of buildings that student, faculty, and staff move about.

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The cost and complexity of deploying fever cameras at every building's entrance would be extreme and unwieldy so a policy of requiring daily temperature checks and deploying kiosks to help do them is practical.

Note: the author, Zach Segal, is a recent Dartmouth graduate.

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