1. What is the purpose of this dashboard?

The National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard is the first effort that systematically maps schools’ responses to the pandemic across the United States. Data is visualized in a single dashboard that empowers school leaders, policymakers, and the general public to examine current conditions in their own areas —as well as compare against others— to adapt to changing environments and make data-driven teaching and learning decisions as they continue to navigate the 2020-21 school year.

2. How are you gathering this data?

Districts and individual schools opt-in through a baseline survey that asks about enrollment, reopening plans, and mitigation factors. From there, enrolled schools and districts will receive a bi-weekly survey to update their information.

3. What kind of questions will the survey ask?

The baseline enrollment survey asks about school enrollment and staffing numbers, opening plans (hybrid/remote/in-person) and a small number of questions on COVID-19 precautions. Our pilot data suggest that the survey takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

The bi-weekly survey asks a very limited set of questions: current enrollment model, student in-person attendance numbers, in-person staff numbers, confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in students and staff.

Excel versions of the surveys—as examples—can be viewed here and here.

4. How will the baseline enrollment survey data be used?

The baseline enrollment survey will be used to confirm school participation in the public dashboard. In addition, we will use these data to identify how schools are opening and the demographic data will be used in analysis.

5. How will the bi-weekly survey data be used?

The bi-weekly survey data will be compiled by the participating organizations and publicly reported onto the dashboard at the state and county levels. No individual school or district will be identified on the public dashboard.

6. How quickly will data be available on the dashboard?

Data will become available as it comes in! However: the bi-weekly survey asks about the two previously completed weeks, so it will not be a “real-time” measure of cases.

7. How will individual school data be protected?

Only the project team will have access to data with school identifiers. Publicly accessible data will be identified only at the state and potentially county level.

8. Why are you reporting infection rates instead of confirmed case counts?

The denominator is a key element of understanding the risk of infection. For decision-makers, we believe that the rate and risk of infection may be more helpful to understand than just the number of cases itself.

9. How are you calculating infection rate?

The number is calculated by taking the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases reported in a two-week period divided by estimated daily in-person student/staff attendance over the same period of time. This applies to in-person only or hybrid learning environments.

10. How do you know if there is a suspected case?

If someone had symptoms but may not have had access to testing or did not access to testing during the reported time period.

11. How will you verify the dashboard data is authentic?

We will have procedures in place to follow up with schools that enroll individually to make sure they are truly representing a school. We’ll also have checks in place to verify data, including cross-referencing to other sources that report cases, like county health departments.

12. What will my school get?

The main reason to participate here is the public good. These data are (we think) necessary to get our kids back to school and project the safety of teachers, staff and students.

13. Can I participate if I’m an independent or charter school?

Yes! We are eager to have any school participate. You can enroll your school directly by entering your baseline data here.

14. Can I participate if I am not opening in person?

Yes. We’re interested in any school that is open for the 2020-21 year, including remote-only instruction, along with those who are opening initially. If you’re a school, please enter your baseline data here to begin! If you’re a district, you can enroll your whole district here.

15. If I have other questions, who can I reach out to?

Please reach out to covidschooldashboard@gmail.com and we’re happy to answer any questions.