How this school division in Winnipeg is tracking COVID-19 absences

WINNIPEG –

A school division in Winnipeg has launched an online dashboard that tracks absenteeism to help students, staff and families monitor the impact of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) launched two dashboards online that allow the public to view the self-reported absences.

“We felt it was important to make these dashboards available to families and staff to help the community see what we’re seeing with respect to absences and the trends we’re seeing, the patterns we’re seeing,” LRSD superintendent Christian Michalik told CTV News.

“It provides the community with a glimpse of what we see and hopefully reassures the community that the health and wellbeing of students and staff are front and centre for us.”

The development of the dashboards comes after the province announced it would no longer provide close contact notification or letters on individual COVID-19 cases in school. Instead, the province said schools will now provide reports of absenteeism through the regular notification channels to the school community and will monitor staff and student absenteeism and self-reported COVID-19 cases.

One dashboard tracks overall student absence rates and the other tracks COVID-19-related student absences which could be due to a positive test result, a student showing symptoms, or a student in isolation due to the virus.

A third dashboard is being developed to track staff reported absences.

Michalik pointed out the information on the dashboards is only as accurate as the self-reported data parents provide the school.

“Having said that, I’m so impressed by how vigilant everyone’s being,” Michalik said. “How vigilant parents and guardians are being in sharing that information, and how vigilant our clerical staff in LRSD are to listen carefully and to record that information.”

He said the division is being careful not to have any identifying information appear on the dashboards.

The data is backdated to the beginning of the school year, which Michalik said will help parents see patterns and trends.

“Seeing that timeline was important to see patterns, to understand trends, to see what the baseline has been this year in a pandemic, and where things are trending,” he said.

The data in the dashboards are updated at the end of every school day at 4:30 p.m.

-with files from CTV’s Charles Lefebvre 

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