Tracking COVID-19 in your child’s school district
MEAD, Wash. — School districts have a new way of tracking COVID-19, and they’re sharing it with you. With some students back to face-to-face learning, school leaders needed to come up with a plan for contact tracing.
Schools districts are responsible for educating thousands of students each day. So how do you keep count of who’s healthy and who may have been exposed to coronavirus? It’s called a COVID-19 Dashboard. Mead School District launched its version this week.
The dashboard does not include any names or personal information. It just lists the number of positive COVID-19 cases at each school. Mead School District launched its dashboard this week and in the few days it’s been up, the dashboard has already had more than 8,000 views.
Mead School District is responsible for educating 10,000 students. About 7,300 of them are learning inside a classroom, and the other 2,700 are learning from home.
“We have six confirmed cases out of 7,300 students. We have been able to determine that all of the cases have been from outside of the school activity. So our goal is to have very little, if any, local transmission within our schools and be able to communicate that with our families,” said Shawn Woodward, superintendent at Mead School District.
Preventing spread starts with the attestation. It’s a survey every student has to take before each school day. It asks about possible exposure to COVID-19 and if they’re experiencing any symptoms.
If they’re good to go, they’ll get the green check to go to school.
“The percentage of people doing the attestations outside of school, it increases basically everyday. Our parents are getting used to the technology, the kids are getting used to it, the routine, and we have been very impressed with the learning curve quite honestly,” Woodward said.
Mead’s newest communication tool is the COVID-19 dashboard. If a student tests positive for the virus, they’ll be added to the board and the school will examine “close contacts.”
The school will call anyone who’s considered a close contact with that student and they will have to quarantine. For example, students in the same classroom.
“Students in front of them, behind them, next to them, and within a diagonal of them,” Woodward said.
If the student rides the bus, same idea.
“We look at kids that are two rows in front of them, a row behind them, and then anybody within the same aisle,” Woodward said.
Mead’s superintendent said from the beginning of the pandemic, families were asking for transparency. This is how they’re delivering.
“We would have tracked this anyhow behind the scenes. We knew that a lot of people would be watching us, as we are the largest school district in the state of Washington that is opening in this fashion,” Woodward said.
Central Valley School District also has a COVID-19 Dashboard on its website. It says there are four people in the district who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks. Similar to Mead School District, it keeps a tally on the number of close contacts.
Spokane Public Schools told 4 News Now, its also working on creating a COVID-19 Dashboard. It does not yet know, however, when it will be posted for families.
READ: Mead School Dist. publicly tracking COVID-19 cases via online dashboard; 40 in quarantine
READ: Spokane Public Schools outlines phased approach for bringing kindergarteners back to in-person instruction
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