One of the most powerful tools in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has been data. Data analytics has informed what we can do, when we can do it, and has kept us safe. As more schools reopen their doors, data is also playing a vital role in ensuring they do so safely.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued key indicators for dynamic school decision making, which include measures of underlying community transmission as well as a measure of adherence to key mitigation strategies. While these indicators provide a solid foundation for establishing and maintaining in-person plans, they aren’t always inclusive of the data that parents, teachers, and staff need to feel comfortable about returning to the classroom.
To gain buy-in from these stakeholders and help inform plans as schools reopen, schools districts must also consider four under-the-radar-data points. Let’s take a look.
- Access to high-speed internet
The pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders exposed a glaring inequity in access to high-speed internet in the home. An April 2020 survey, spearheaded by the U.S. Census Bureau, found that 3.7 million households with children had internet available “sometimes, rarely, or never.” This disparity is felt most acutely in rural America where only 65 percent of Americans have access to fixed internet.