TSA May Start Temperature Checks at Several Airports (Video)

The TSA tested the idea of temperature checks at Washington Dulles International Airport in April.

The Transportation Security Administration is reportedly looking to start checking temperatures at airports in the latest measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The temperature checks are likely to occur at about a dozen airports and could begin as early as this week with the help of tripods or hand-held thermal scanners, The Wall Street Journal reported. Passengers who register a temperature of 100.4 or higher would be flagged.

A tripod can scan multiple people at the same time.

The potential rollout comes after the TSA tested the concept of temperature checks at Washington Dulles International Airport in April, according to WSJ.

But as talk of temperature screenings continue, the paper noted officials have raised concerns over everything from safety for the agents conducting the checks, to the usefulness of fever as an indicator of COVID-19 due to the possibility of asymptomatic transmission.

man removes mask at TSA checkpoint
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/Getty

While foot traffic at airports may have significantly decreased, more than 500 TSA employees have still tested positive for COVID-19 and six have died, according to the agency. Of those, 113 cases have occurred at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, followed by New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport with 61 cases.

In an effort to protect its officers, the TSA made it mandatory to wear face masks while working at security checkpoints. Using protective eyewear, however, remains voluntary.

"I cannot find any law that gives TSA the authority to perform temperature checks as reported. The health and safety of our Transportation Security Officers have already been put at great risk the past few months,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, according to CNN. “The Administration should not put these frontline workers in further danger in order to provide passengers a potential false sense of safety."

Several airlines have already committed to performing their own temperature checks on all passengers before boarding a flight, including Air Canada, Frontier Airlines, and Ryanair.

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