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Indiana to track COVID-19 in schools with new data dashboard

A new online tool designed to help track COVID-19 cases in Indiana schools is expected to be released by the end of the month.

Posted: Sep 24, 2020 3:21 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new online tool designed to help track COVID-19 cases in Indiana schools is expected to be released by the end of the month.

The data dashboard will reflect the new and cumulative numbers of positive COVID-19 cases among students, teachers, and in a given school. It will be updated on a weekly basis, said Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health.

While the school virus dashboard hasn’t yet launched, state officials provided the first historical snapshot of school COVID-19 cases Wednesday. About 2,000 schools, over 70% of those across the state, have already contributed data, Box said. Initial numbers indicate more than 1,100 schools reported no COVID-19 cases, and more than 900 reported at least one case.

In the positive cases logged so far, nearly 1,900 students, teachers and other school employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the new school year started this fall. Students make up the majority of the reported cases, with 1,348 cases, with another 274 cases reported among the state’s teachers and 276 cases in other staff members.

Case totals are likely to increase in the coming days as more schools submit their data, Box said. But because the reporting by schools is voluntary, the state dashboard numbers won’t fully capture cases. If school participation becomes an issue, however, Box said the state may consider making it mandatory for district leaders to report their data.

“The purpose is not to stigmatize a school or to penalize them,” Box said during a Sept. 9 news conference. “The purpose is not to mandate whether schools are hosting in-person classes or going virtual because those decisions are made locally.”

The state reported Wednesday that 94% of schools are now offering at least some degree of in-person instruction. With school leaders and local health departments in control of deciding when school buildings should close or reopen as the coronavirus pandemic continues, Box added that the creation of the new school dashboard is intended help guide districts as they weigh decisions about their operational plans.

Still, the case counts reported by the tracker have been difficult for the public to see, until now. Currently, schools are required to report positive cases to their local health department, but it's up to school officials to determine if other students and families in the district are notified of positive cases.

As early as next week, the school data will be available to the public and searchable by individual school. Schools reporting fewer than five positive cases will have their data suppressed to protect privacy.

Once the dashboard is released, Indiana will join more than a dozen other states that publicly provide numbers of COVID-19 cases in schools.

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Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 164581

Reported Deaths: 4143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26055792
Lake14436358
St. Joseph9606168
Elkhart9271138
Allen8647231
Hamilton6400115
Vanderburgh617162
Tippecanoe396715
Porter347550
Hendricks3418134
Monroe335638
Johnson3286130
Delaware311575
Clark306263
Vigo275340
Madison250896
LaPorte239261
Cass229724
Warrick205065
Kosciusko201127
Floyd187468
Howard169466
Bartholomew147958
Marshall147428
Dubois146426
Wayne142031
Grant133539
Henry133030
Boone129150
Hancock124744
Noble122935
Jackson121018
Dearborn103128
Morgan100340
Lawrence96838
Gibson94412
Clinton92416
Daviess92334
Shelby90632
LaGrange82815
Knox81810
Harrison81024
Posey7767
Putnam77616
Fayette76719
DeKalb76011
Jasper6885
Miami6715
Steuben6608
Montgomery63122
White62316
Greene57838
Adams5607
Scott55413
Decatur52839
Ripley4838
Whitley4836
Clay4617
Sullivan45714
Wells45611
Huntington4455
Starke4438
Wabash4439
Orange42425
Spencer4176
Randolph39210
Jennings38713
Washington3873
Franklin38325
Fulton3785
Perry36914
Jefferson3655
Pike35718
Carroll34313
Jay3386
Fountain3293
Tipton28423
Vermillion2721
Parke2564
Rush2464
Blackford2394
Newton23711
Owen2151
Martin2050
Pulaski1783
Crawford1631
Brown1473
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1130
Switzerland980
Warren911
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

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