Department of Ed and CDC Release District COVID Dashboard
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Two federal agencies
have released a new COVID-19 dashboard to publicize how the virus is
hitting K-12 schools. The new dashboard,
produced by the U.S.
Department of Education and Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aggregates
data on pediatric COVID-19 cases, youth vaccination rates and numbers
on schools that are operating in-person, hybrid or remote.
The agencies said
the data would be updated weekly and, where possible, presented
geographically so that users, including educators and families, could
view the impact of COVID in their communities. Location filters
include states and districts.
The agencies also
announced a plan to work with The
Rockefeller Foundation, to speed up school-based
screening testing for students and staff.
The data being used
for the dashboard comes from a number of sources, and the agencies
warned that it wasn't guaranteed to be "100% accurate."
Sources include: Burbio's
school opening tracker, MCH
Strategic Data's district operational status updates,
tracker, and state dashboards.
To present data on
school modalities, CDC researchers worked with the Johns
Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to
define a model for estimating the most likely learning modality
(in-person, hybrid and remote) for public and public charter school
districts nationwide. These findings were originally presented in a
recently published CDC
report, and now CDC will be providing the data on a
The two agencies
also recently teamed up with the Rockefeller Foundation to make it
easier for schools to set up testing.
This program grew
out of President Biden's Covid-19 Action Plan announced in September.
The administration called on schools to set up regular testing for
students, teachers and staff and provided $10 billion in funding for
Covid-19 "screening testing" in K-12 schools -- in addition
to the $130 billion provided to states and school districts that may
also be used for testing.
Foundation has been providing resources to schools on setting up
testing programs since the early days of the pandemic – including
by piloting screening testing programs to gather insights on how best
to structure testing in K-12 schools; establishing a K-12
National Testing Action Program to connect school
leaders and parents with labs and manufacturers; and issuing a school
playbook to offer step-by-step guidance to design and
implement effective testing programs in schools.
initiative has several aspects:
to state health departments through the COVID Workforce Initiative
"to coordinate, execute and expand on school-based COVID-19
testing, contact tracing/case investigation and other public health
guide for schools on how to launch screening testing
"office hours" to connect schools to national testing
experts to set up and sustain screening testing programs.
for schools to identify a provider and get started with testing
within their states.
sheet for districts on how to use relief funding in
providing incentives to parents and guardians for participating in
screening testing programs.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.