Marin to unveil schools virus tracker

A new online tool debuts this week to offer Marin families an easy-to-navigate, transparent map and dashboard showing if, when and where any coronavirus exposures occur at local schools — and the systematized responses that follow.

“We know that there’s a lot of concern and interest regarding reopening schools in the county,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin public health officer, said last week.

“And if people don’t have access to information, it can fuel that (concern),” he added. “And so we want to make sure everyone has access to the best available information that’s updated in real time — especially in regards to the status of schools which are open for classroom-based learning.”

With close to half of Marin elementary and middle schools — and a few private high schools — either already open for some in-campus learning or planning to open next month, families and staff need to be confident that there is a system in place should any incidents occur, Willis said.

He said having a robust system established and available for public access should be “overall generally reassuring” in that families can trust there will be transparency and a careful and methodical approach.

“The combination of the progress we’ve made across-the-board in reducing the community prevalence (of COVID-19), combined with the safety protocols at the school level, is the recipe for a safer reopening,” Willis said. “Obviously the most important way to track that and verify that is through school-based cases and cohort closures when there is an infection.”

The dashboard is connected to a map of Marin, with grey dots for each school. As each school opens to at least 10% capacity, the dot will turn green. If someone hovers over one of the dots, a menu shows students’ ages, grade levels, status, total number of students, and total number of cohorts. Cohorts in this case refer to individual classes of up to 15 students.

A separate table on the dashboard gives other information regarding virus transmissions, the type of transmission, number of cases, number of cohorts closed. Also the table shows the total aggregate of student days in attendance at school across the entire county. That allows the county to determine a percentage level of cases or incidents.

The dashboard and map are scheduled to be posted by early this week at the Marin County Office of Education website at

Marin public health staff will address the community further in two public events this week. They are 4:30 p.m. Tuesday; to unveil a new “Marin Student and Family COVID-19 Safety Handbook;” and at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for a town hall on safety protocols.  Dr. Lisa Santora, deputy public health officer, will lead the events.

For more information on those events, see the MCOE website at 

Mary Jane Burke, Marin County superintendent of schools, said the new dashboard and map builds on the extensive effort in progress since June to create rigorous safety plans for every public, private and parochial school in the county.

The plans, known as school site-specific protection plans, are 30-point questionnaires …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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