New York’s school COVID-19 dashboard looks incredible… but where is it?

I wrote in last week’s issue that New York state is launching a dashboard that will provide data on COVID-19 in public schools.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed this dashboard in his online briefing last Tuesday, September 8. (If you’d like to watch, start at about 18:00.) He explained that every school district is now required to report test and case numbers daily to New York’s Department of Health. Local public health departments and state labs performing testing are also required to report these numbers, so that the state department can cross-check against three different sources. Cases and tests will be published by school on the new dashboard, called the COVID Report Card.

In his briefing, Governor Cuomo showed a mockup of what the Report Card will look like. The available data includes positive cases by date, tests administered by the school (including test type, lab used, and test wait time), the school’s opening status (i.e. is it operating remotely, in person, or with a hybrid model), and the percentage of on-site students and staff who test positive.

This dataset promises to be much more complete than any other state’s reporting on COVID-19 in schools. But I haven’t been able to closely examine these data yet, because the dashboard has yet to come online.

According to reporting from Gothamist, state officials planned for the dashboard to begin showing data on September 9. As I send this newsletter on September 13, however, the dashboard provides only a message stating that the COVID Report Card will be live “when the reporting starts to come back.”

“The facts give people comfort,” Governor Cuomo said in his briefing. So, Governor, where are the facts? Where are the data? When will New York students, parents, and teachers be able to follow COVID-19 in their schools? My calls to Governor Cuomo’s office and the New York State Department of Health have as yet gone unanswered, and subsequent press releases have not issued updates on the status of these data.

I hope to return with an update on this dashboard next week. In the meantime, for a thorough look at why school COVID-19 data are so important and the barriers that such data collection has faced so far, I highly recommend this POLITICO feature by Biana Quilantan and Dan Goldberg.

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