The Shrinking Health Questionnaire

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A child has her temperature taken before attending the first day of grade 2 at P.S. 130 in Brooklyn N.Y., September 29, 2020. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

So, the COVID era brought with it something new: the health questionnaire. The schools my children attend each have it, but so have other venues I’ve entered. Have you had a fever, cough, etc.? Are you under quarantine? Have you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19? Have you traveled out of state?

For some institutions, answering is done in an app. For others an actual human being at the door is tasked with administering the interrogation.

Lately and locally, I’ve noticed that the presumption has now developed that you no longer have to think about these questions specifically. Some apps now allow you to check all “No” boxes with one click. And some people who man the doors will reduce it all to, “Y’all all right?” as they start filling in the COVID worksheet for you to initial it. The substance of the questions is likely being forgotten, too.

To me, these abbreviations indicate that we’ve already given up the original spirit of the questionnaire and are now resolved that this is only as a bureaucratic box-checking exercise. What’s the state of play on questionnaires where you live?