JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — Jefferson County Schools has launched a new online dashboard where data surrounding cases of the novel coronavirus at schools across the district will be posted.
"As we navigate these uncharted waters together, this is a way that we can say, 'Hey, here’s what’s going on in our schools,'" said Executive Director of Media Relations and Public Information Cameron Bell. "Then people out in the community can use that as another piece of information."
People can search for confirmed and active cases at any school, any town or any articulation area, with daily updates.
"It’s scary for all us, and we’re just trying to do the right thing," said Alicia Duncan Coulter.
Duncan Coulter has two kids at Ralson Valley High School. She said she likes knowing how many active cases may be there at any given time.
"I think that's very important, you know, so that we're all aware of what's going on in our community," Duncan Coulter said.
The dashboard does not include data for students who attend charter schools within the district. Anyone who is seeking information about cases at those charter schools would need to reach out to them directly.
"I pulled it up and I looked at our school, and sure enough there were a couple of cases we haven't heard anything," Duncan Coulter said.
She said that Ralston Valley shows two cases on the dashboard, but the school community was never notified.
Bell said the district tells people directly only when it needs to.
"Many of the positive confirmed cases we have seen are amongst people who are remote," Bell said. "So, they have not been in our buildings. So, therefore there are no quarantines as a result and so, therefore, there are not notifications as a result."
Current data as of Sept. 23 shows there are 47 active cases within JeffCo Schools. Just over half, or about 53% of those cases are at the high school level, the rest are split between middle and elementary schools.
The new school year began remotely in JeffCo but students returned to in-person learning on Sept. 8.
Duncan Coulter said she wants consistent communications, but she is happy that the dashboard is out there for more than just parents.
"Just because you don't have kids at that school doesn't mean it's not in your neighborhood," Duncan Coulter said. "So I think that's important for everybody, whether you're a parent or not."
Shortly after the school year began, Dr. Jason Glass left his role as superintendent to become Kentucky's Education Commissioner. He had been in the role for about three years and had helped draft the district's Restart plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cherry Creek School District is also posting information about COVID-19 cases in schools on its website.
Bell said this is just one way JeffCo Schools can be a good community neighbor.
"If by sharing this data, that means people can continue to be safe and smart and stay healthy then that's better for everyone," Bell said.
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