School-by-school coronavirus reports could come soon in Idaho
Kevin Richert, IdahoEdNews.org
The state could provide coronavirus case numbers by school within “a short period of time,” a Department of Health and Welfare official said Wednesday.
For now, a statewide breakdown isn’t available to parents or teachers — and the existing data varies widely from school district to school district. For example, the Boise School District posts school-by-school data on its website. When the Kuna School District reported its first cases of the year, it provided school-level data to parents. But the neighboring West Ada School District, Idaho’s largest district, does not plan to release data about cases involving its 40,000 students, the Idaho Statesman reported Saturday.
While student privacy is one concern — and the reason West Ada says it is balking at releasing data — Health and Welfare says it is also facing logistical challenges.
When the state receives a positive coronavirus test result, the file includes a permanent address.
That allows the state to break out case data for long-term care facilities. Since June, Health and Welfare has issued a weekly report on cases and deaths in long-term facilities.
But a child can attend a neighborhood public school — or a charter school or private school, or home-school — so a permanent address doesn’t provide Health and Welfare with the answers it needs. The agency will need to come up with a procedure to collect this information through case investigations — that is, if parents provide the information.
On Wednesday, state public health administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch didn’t commit to a launch date, but said Health and Welfare hopes to have a school database up soon.
“We are working towards making this information more available,” Shaw-Tulloch said during a Facebook Live chat.
While the school-level data is in the works, Health and Welfare’s coronavirus web site now includes more detailed data on coronavirus cases involving children, with breakdowns by age group. Here are the numbers, as of Tuesday.
- 4 years old and younger: 693 confirmed or probable cases.
- 5 to 12 years old: 1,185 cases.
- 13 to 17 years old: 1,936 cases.
All told, children account for nearly 10 percent of Idaho’s coronavirus cases.
To see the status of school openings across Idaho in real time click on our statewide map.
Originally posted on IdahoEdNews.org on September 23, 2020