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GCS Launches COVID-19 Data Dashboard

Sept. 25, 2020 – Guilford County Schools has developed a new public data dashboard that indicates the number of verified COVID-19 cases among GCS staff that may have impacted the school community. The new dashboard debuted during the Guilford County Board of Education meeting on Thursday, September 24.

The data dashboard contains a map and chart of all schools/sites in Guilford County. The map and chart indicate the number of employees per month per site with cases of COVID-19 that have been confirmed by public health. The district is working in partnership with public health to publish a similar dashboard to indicate the number of students per month per site with verified cases of COVID-19.  

The data dashboards on our website will be updated weekly as new cases are verified by public health. The purpose of the dashboards is to provide information on a regular and transparent basis to parents, employees and the public, without violating individual student or staff privacy.

“While contact tracing is a private process, we also recognize that there is a public interest in having information beyond what is needed solely for public health purposes,” said Nora Carr, chief of staff. “We believe reporting this data meets that public interest need in a responsible way while still protecting the privacy of our students and staff.”

The dashboards were created internally by GCS accountability and research staff. Data is vetted by public health prior to publishing the information on the dashboard. The Guilford County Health Department also has created several data dashboards that track public health measures. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also publishes school-by-school data regarding COVID-19 clusters (of 5 or more cases).

The district also has published protocols for principals and supervisors to follow when an employee or student tests positive for COVID-19. The protocols include mandatory public health notifications and deep cleaning procedures. 

Public health officials personally contact individuals who may have been exposed and provide direction regarding quarantines and testing. Principals/supervisors share information with the individual’s co-workers or classmates/schools. Student and employee privacy laws prohibit the sharing of an individual’s personal information, including the results of medical tests.

“If you need to know because you’ve been potentially exposed, public health will contact you,” noted Carr. “If the classroom, office or building needs to be closed for cleaning, you will hear from your principal or your direct supervisor. The dashboards add another layer of public information that we hope will be helpful as we continue to work through the pandemic.”