KATY, Texas – The Katy Independent School District has been working on a plan to equip staff, students and parents with resources and updated information to gear up for the start of the school year in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Thursday, the District launched its COVID-19 Case Dashboard, providing parents with a robust tool to keep themselves updated during this ongoing global health crisis.
“We want to feel safe! That’s the biggest thing,” Camille Robinson, a Katy ISD parent, said.
In order to help parents, the district worked on finding a platform to communicate with parents effectively and consistently.
Why is this necessary?
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently directed all Texas school districts to submit weekly reports on positive COVID-19 cases based on data from the previous week. As a result, Katy ISD decided to have that information also be made available to parents. The district built its own in-house and interactive Case Dashboard based on geographic mapping software, designed to keep parents and staff informed of daily updates concerning coronavirus cases throughout the district.
“We want our parents to be in a position to make timely and informed decisions about their child’s schooling, health and well-being as we continue to navigate through this pandemic,” said Jamey Hynds, Katy ISD’s Technology Director of Business Intelligence. “The COVID-19 Case Dashboard is easy to navigate and is updated every night to provide parents the most up to date information.”
What is it?
The dashboard is part of a three-part mitigation system that will include the district’s self-reporting app and on-site testing facility for district employees, according to a news release.
What information can I find on the dashboard?
People will be able to see the number of self-reported cases.
The data will be sorted by “districtwide active cases, as well as cases by staff, students and campus. Diagrams allow the user to view case locations by facility, zip code and county,” according to the release.
“The Dashboard, available on the Katy ISD website homepage, provides the number of self-reported positive COVID-19 cases in the District, and is a component of a three-part comprehensive COVID mitigation system that includes Katy ISD’s COVID-19 Self-Reporting App and an onsite testing facility for district employees,” the district stated.
Data on the Dashboard is displayed by districtwide active cases, as well as cases by staff, students and campus. Diagrams allow the user to view case locations by facility, zip code and county, according to the district.
How current will the information be?
Hynds said the “dashboard is easy to navigate and is updated every night to provide parents the most up to date information.”
How do I access the dashboard?
According to the release, the new dashboard will be available on the Katy ISD homepage.
Anyone interested can find more information about the dashboard, Katy ISD’s self-reporting app and the employee testing site online.
“At the very simplest level, a parent... can log in the morning before school and know, as of last night, how many staff cases are at that campus, how many student cases are at that campus and know the condition level at the campus,” Hynds said.
Parents like Robinson said it was a relief.
“Very helpful so that anywhere we are, we can look, and it’s just amazing. It helps you feel like you’re included,” Robinson said.
The district said this should help answer parents’ questions with optional in-person classes starting September 8.
“We want to provide the information necessary for our families to be able to make the best decisions possible and we want to make it easy and simple and up to date as possible,” Hynds said.