Parents, teachers team up to create COVID-19 dashboard for Philly schools

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As children gradually return to classrooms, the School District of Philadelphia has not yet provided a public citywide list of positive COVID-19 cases in schools. So parents and teachers' groups are doing it themselves.

The Infogram page (embedded below) shows how many positive COVID-19 tests are reported in the schools that are open for in-person learning. There were 48 total positive tests, as of Monday afternoon.

It's a project of Parents United for Public Education and the Caucus of Working Educators. Caucus member Max Rosen-Long, a ninth grade Spanish teacher at SLA-Beeber, said parents deserve to know whether the precautions taken by the district are working.

"They want their kids to go back to school but they want to make sure they're safe. And that's what the School District has promised them," Rosen-Long told KYW Newsradio. "They have a right to know if their kids are going to be safe or not. And if the School District isn't willing to share this safety data, then we have to find ways to get it out publicly on our own."

"The School District has built this reopening plan on the promise that they can keep everybody safe," he continued, "and they need to either stick to those promises or show the data to show that maybe it isn’t as safe as they originally said."

The groups are crowdsourcing letters emailed from principals to track the cases.

Rosen-Long said other urban districts have posted online dashboards with charts and graphics, but Philadelphia has not.

"A lot of these large urban school districts, they already have this data public and easily available with graphs, with summaries, with all of the information you need going back to the beginning of the school year," he said. "So why does Philadelphia not have that?"

School District spokeswoman Monica Lewis said the district is working to develop a COVID-19 dashboard, but there's no word on when it will be ready. In the meantime, Lewis said individual schools continue to report directly to their school communities when positive cases are found.