Bend-La Pine Schools has launched a new interactive, more robust COVID-19 dashboard offering up-to-date notifications about isolations and quarantines within the district.
Users can sort data by school site and time period to gain a better understanding of COVID-19 cases and related quarantines in their school community.
According to the dashboard, nearly 4,000 students and staff have been quarantined for some period since the beginning of the school year.
Data auto-updates every 15 minutes with cases confirmed by Deschutes County Public Health.
“I want to thank the dedicated staff members who worked tirelessly to pull this tool together to provide a more transparent view of COVID-19 cases in our school and district communities,” said Superintendent Steven Cook. “This was a big lift but one I believe will make a meaningful difference to our staff and families looking for a more in-depth view of cases.”
Families can now find school-wide notification of positive cases on the dashboard.
Families will continue to receive a notification letter when their student: is identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person, is identified as being COVID-19 positive, is part of an athletic or activities team, or is identified as low-risk exposure in an elementary classroom.
Bend mom Lisa has two high school-aged kids in the district who have both had to quarantine at different times.
She believes the dashboard is a positive change to keep parents informed.
“Having a dashboard to just go and look at what the cases are in the schools every once in awhile is totally appropriate,” Lisa said. “But of course as a parent I would want to know when there’s a direct contact, and they’re going to continue to do that, so I think it’s a great idea.”
“I understand the school’s protocol and quarantine, especially as a nurse,” she added. “It’s a difficult thing, and I know they’re just trying to do the best thing.”
The district’s Communication and Safety Officer Julianne Repman said the new platform’s format was very similar to the one used in Superintendent Cook’s previous school district in Coeur d’Alene.
“The previous dashboard presented just the number of students or staff who were COVID positive within a 28 day window,” she said.
“As we were progressing through this pandemic, we were really seeing there’s a need for more information for families and also our own staff so that they could make informed decisions.”
Numbers in the “isolation” category represent positive-testing students, while the “quarantine” category shows the number of students who were directly exposed to someone who tested positive and were asked to quarantine.
The dashboard also shows the difference between how many students were exposed to COVID-19 in school versus those who were exposed elsewhere.
“You’ll be able to see students who were exposed to COVID in a classroom setting in a school setting, or you’ll see in the second category there are those where it may have happened at church, it could’ve happened at their place of work, and they were quarantined because of that,” Repman said.
She said the platform has already been helpful over the course of the past couple days.
“It will help us to know when we need to start adding additional mitigation layers for example, if we’re seeing cases rising,” she said. “So it’s just been really great to be able to break that down and know is it a staff member, is it a student, is it someone who was exposed in the community, rather than in a classroom.”