A Western University professor has launched an interactive map that shows school-related cases of COVID-19 in Ontario’s public schools.
The map was created by Dr. Prachi Srivastava, an associate professor in the university’s Faculty of Education.
According to the website, the map provides a real-time data visualization of confirmed virus cases in the province’s publicly funded elementary and secondary schools. It then connects the map with the school’s demographics.
The project aims to increase transparency and understanding of the effects COVID-19 has on the education system.
“The effects of COVID-19 are more severe on high-risk communities, populations, and schools,” the website says. “Visualizing COVID-19 case data with data on school social background characteristics will give us a better understanding of the composition of affected schools.”
“In short, we will get closer to understanding the human dimension of COVID-19 on school populations.”
Each bubble on the map represents a school that has seen a confirmed virus case. The bigger the bubble, the greater the number of cumulative cases.
The bubbles currently report on the cumulative case count in a school and if each positive case was in a student, staff member, or was unidentified. It also shows the city where the school is located, the grade levels taught, the overseeing school board, enrollment number, and main language of instruction.
The data also shows the proportion of students from low-income households, whose first language is not English or French, who are immigrants from a non-English and non-French country, and whose parents have some university education.
The map is updated each weekday when the Ontario Ministry of Education releases their school-related virus data.
“This site should not be used to draw inferences on the broader COVID-19 situation in Ontario, or on case numbers generally,” Srivastava cautions.
A phased reopening of Ontario’s public schools began on September 8. The site says all schools should have been opened by September 21.
According to the map, there have been 4,170 confirmed virus cases in Ontario schools. As of November 24, 703 schools were dealing with an active case, and four were closed.