Boise State Dining Services implements COVID-19 guidelines to continue serving students on campus

Photo by Chandler Thornton

Boise State Dining Services has recently updated their health policies and implemented a new app to guarantee a contactless transaction for students and faculty. Due to the increasing cases of COVID-19 on and off campus, the university has rolled out new ways to try and ensure student and faculty safety in the dining halls. 

Brian Holzworth, resident district manager at ARAMARK Higher Education, discussed in an email what the health and safety implementations Boise State has utilized for the fall semester.

According to Holzworth, Boise State dining services has encouraged social distancing in lines by having six-foot floor markers. 

Dining Services has also limited the number of guests inside certain locations, limited the amount of seating available and has been offering more pre-packaged food. Increased cleaning protocols and disinfecting high-touch areas such as cash registers, door handles, and counters has also been implemented.

All employees are required to wear facial coverings and take part in COVID-19 safety training before working, according to Holzworth. Employees also have their temperatures taken prior to each shift. 

[Photo of a student purchasing Subway in the Student Union Building on campus]
Photo by Chandler Thornton

Boise State has worked with the GET app to ensure contactless transactions with students and faculty, pre-order food, see account balances and more. The GET app is used nationwide by universities, and is an app that helps students navigate their meal plan, food deliveries and payments in a virtual format.

Meaghan Compton, assistant director for Campus Services, has worked to make the GET app available for Boise State, which launched at the beginning of August. According to Compton, this app is built to work with the university’s existing meal plan system.

A major feature the GET app brings to students is digital credentials. Students’ ID will be in the app and will allow students to have a touchless transaction. The app also allows students to see transaction history.

“It’s really helpful for students to budget their meal plans and flex dollars in live time,” Compton said. “Historically, that’s been really cumbersome for students to get access to, so this provides instant transparency on their part and accessibility to their account.”

The GET app also allows students to have mobile food ordering, which would let students skip the line in dining halls. Compton notes that this also helps students have a touchless transaction and keep physical distancing. 

“The app is there to help students understand the scope of their meal plan and know where their meal plans can be used outside of the traditional dining hall. It provides a safer alternative, especially when it comes to eating at all the retail locations,” Compton said.

Food delivery can be offered through the app, but the feature is currently not available to Boise State students yet. The app allows food delivery systems for students who are quarantined, but Boise State has decided to go with another system of delivery, according to Compton. 

Students do not need a meal plan to utilize the GET app. According to Compton, students can log in to the app using their Boise State credentials and link a credit or debit card for easy payments. Boise State wants to ensure this app is available to all students across the campus.

In the future, the GET app will allow for meal donations, where students can donate meal swipes to those who need it. The app will also have the ability to purchase meal plans through the app, instead of through the Boise State website. Students will also be able to add and update their meal plan funds, and a rewards program will be available for students through the app. 

According to Compton, dining services have implemented contactless credit and debit card transactions through Apple Pay and Google Pay. Boise State dining services encourage students to use digital currency as much as possible. 

Compton also notes that the dining halls have implemented signage for students to wear facial coverings unless they are actively eating and to practice social distancing when possible.

“The university has really worked on making every step possible to help keep the campus community safe,” Compton said. “That is what we are here to do and if there is something that students are observing that doesn’t follow that, or if they have recommendations for something that we can change or do differently, or to help encourage [students] to feel more safe and secure, we welcome that input. The feedback from our students is the best direction we can get.”

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