NEW YORK — Parents and caregivers of school-age children can monitor the number of students and staff infected with COVID-19 when classes resume this week as the state launches an additional coronavirus tracker today.
The state’s new public coronavirus interactive tool, dubbed the COVID-19 Report Card, will track virus infections and testing results in each of the state’s 713 school districts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared an executive order Tuesday requiring each school, local health department, labs and testing sites to report daily coronavirus data to the state Department of Health to be included on the new tracker.
“I think this will give parents confidence and give teachers confidence,” Cuomo said during a pandemic briefing Tuesday in his Manhattan office. “They will know on a day-to-day basis what is happening. They won’t be reliant on the information from the school district or anyone else.
“This is an entirely new enterprise in an entirely new world ... There has to be public disclosure of the fact to inform a parent of the risk they’re taking.”
The tool, known as a dashboard, will include positive COVID-19 cases of students, faculty and staff by date, the number of students and staff on-site, the percent of positive cases on-site, the number of diagnostic tests, type of test, the lab used and expected result lag time and the date of last data submission, or update.
“Every school district has to report to the Department of Health as to how many tests were taken, what type of tests were taken and what were the results. ... The daily report card (shows) how the is school doing on implementing their plan,” the governor said. “The state will maintain it.”
Essential workers at the state’s 800-plus coronavirus testing sites must ask each person between 4 and 18 years old what school they attend to help ensure schools are complying with state-approved testing plans, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said.
“Even if not mandated by a school, we’ll know existence of COVID in those schools,” she added.
The tracker will ease the worries of parents and teachers, Cuomo said, adding he’s received thousands of phone calls from concerned parents and school faculty about changing district reopening plans. Each school was mandated to submit a detailed reopening plan, including how often and when a district will test students and staff, to resume in-person classroom instruction.
“Plans are only as good as your ability to implement a plan,” the governor said. “The parents and teachers are confused and they’re anxious ... are (schools) actually following up on the plan and doing something?
“I’m going to be darn sure the plan is smart, they can do the plan and then I want to know if they’re actually implementing the plan. That’s where we are.”
Visitors type in their home address to identify their school district and select their specific school to find all reported positives, a breakdown of testing and results for students and teachers, and the current enrollment. The dashboard will feature seven-day trend charts so visitors can track results over time, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
“It’s but a simple website — even I could use it,” the governor joked.
To access the schools dashboard, visit schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov.
The interactive site will accompany the state DOH’s COVID-19 tracker at covid19tracker.health.ny.gov.