As the School District of Philadelphia slowly returns to in-person and hybrid learning this spring, it has launched an online dashboard to track COVID-19 cases within students and staff.
It’s been more than a year since the district’s schools closed to in-person learning to contain the spread of the virus. Since March 2020, the district has proposed many plans of action to return to school in the last year, including hybrid learning starting for younger students in early 2021.
Currently, the district is in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, bringing students in grades 3 to 5 with complex needs back to school, and bringing students in grades 6 to 8 whose familiars selected the hybrid model for a mix of in-person and remote learning starting April 26. All staff supporting grades 3 to 8 returned to school buildings on April 12.
Although the state began vaccinating teachers last month, children have not yet been green-lit for the vaccine, and some school staff still might not have secured appointments or don’t wish to do so.
The district’s COVID-19 dashboard is meant to provide the latest information on confirmed positive cases within its schools. It was built by the City’s Office of Evaluation, Research and Accountability, district spokesperson Monica Lewis told Technical.ly.
The dashboard will be updated weekly, the district said, and currently shows that of the 10,337 students and staff who were tested since March, 64 were positive, for a positivity rate of 0.6%. It also includes reported tests that were performed at the school and off-site, like a doctor’s office or community health center.
“We understand that having access to real-time information about COVID positivity rates in our schools is important for our families and community, and we are happy to provide this new tool,” Superintendent William Hite said in a statement. “As the data shows, the positivity rates in our schools are very low. We hope this helps to build further confidence in the safety of our schools as we plan to welcome more students back for in-person learning.”
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The dashboard also allows a user to look at cases by school or ZIP code, and it shows how many students and staff at each school were tested in the last month. It uses the OpenStreetMap contributors tool to show interactive COVIC-19 neighborhood data.-30-
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