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Brown University Professor Emily Oster and Qualtrics Partner with School Superintendents and Principals Associations to Launch the National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard

Last updated:  September 23, 2020

Alexandria, Va. – September 23, 2020 – Today, a collective of national education organizations, researchers and technology experts are unveiling the National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard, the first nationwide database that systematically maps schools’ responses to the pandemic across the United States. Data will be visualized in a single dashboard that empowers school leaders, policymakers and the general public to examine current conditions in their own communities—as well as compare against other areas—to adapt to changing environments and make data-driven teaching and learning decisions as they continue to navigate the 2020-21 school year.

The intent to create a national dashboard and generate initial interest among school districts was announced one month ago. Since then, hundreds of schools across the nation have joined the effort. The dashboard, created by Qualtrics, currently provides information at the state level such as: school type (public, independent, etc.); average student infection rate (based on a reported two-week period); average staff infection rate (based on a reported two-week period); whether the school is currently in-person, hybrid or fully virtual. The dashboard will be continuously updated as districts join this effort and as existing districts provide new information on details such as case count and learning model.

The broad partnership consists of: AASA, The School Superintendents Association; the National Association of Secondary School Principals; the National Association of Elementary School Principals; Brown University Professor of Economics Emily Oster; and Qualtrics, the experience management company.

Statement from AASA Executive Director Daniel Domenech: “Our nation’s public school superintendents—and the schools and students they serve—started the 2020-21 school year with inadequate access to broad, nationwide data reporting the realities of COVID in schools. We are proud to be a partner in this effort, to respond to a critical need, and to be able to share a robust set of locally reported data that will help district leaders and school principals answer questions critical to ensuring their staff and students are safe in school. Today’s launch of the initial dashboard is just the first step in what will be an enduring effort to make this data as robust and meaningful as possible. We thank Emily Oster and Qualtrics for their tireless work to bring the dashboard to life. We call on school superintendents across the nation to make sure their districts are enrolled and participating, and we remain committed to supporting and serving our nation’s school leaders through this pandemic.”

Statement from Brown University Professor of Economics Emily Oster: “In the middle of a pandemic, where our nation is left unable to answer the most basic of questions, the idea of leaving our schools in a position of starting a school year unable to reasonably anticipate what COVID looks like in buildings and classrooms across the nation was unfathomable to me. COVID Explained was my first step into the work of bringing facts about the virus—how it spreads, how it is treated and who it affects the most—and making sure that information is accessible and actionable. This dashboard is the school version of that work—an effort to aggregate unbiased information to help school leaders and policymakers alike make good, data-driven decisions. I am humbled by the great work being done by school leaders across the nation in getting schools open for the 2020-21 school year and through this partnership and dashboard, we are able to support their continued leadership.”

Statement from Qualtrics Global Industry Leader for Education Omar Garriott: “School and system leaders have done a heroic job in pivoting to virtual learning and delivering services since the onset of the pandemic. Their challenge now is to ensure public trust—and minimize uncertainty and confusion—by closing the widening experience gaps with key stakeholders: families and employees. We hope that every leader embraces this dashboard. Making better decisions in future phases depends on transparently comparing how their locality is performing relative to others and proactively gauging community sentiment. Qualtrics is proud to be the technology partner for this important initiative as we support schools in adapting to the changing environment and maintaining community trust—priority No. 1 at this stage.”

Statement from NAESP Executive Director Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE: “Ensuring student and staff safety is the utmost priority for principals. But as schools resume this fall, a lack of comprehensive national data on COVID-19 across schools has led to uncertainty and confusion with school reopening decisions. Without a clear picture of where such cases are occurring, and what factors are contributing to these cases, district and school leaders have been left to navigate difficult reopening decisions without this crucial information. This project will help fill the void by providing data on where cases are occurring, identifying which factors might be contributing to transmission in schools and providing insights that can inform future safe reopenings. NAESP is proud to partner on this project, which will provide crucial information to principals at a time of extraordinary uncertainty for K-12 schools.”

Statement from NASSP Chief Executive Officer JoAnn Bartoletti: “NASSP’s Building Ranks framework for school leadership makes it clear that the wellness of each student and adult in the school is a foundational condition for students to fulfill their greatest potential. The coronavirus pandemic, coupled with an absence of federal leadership in response to it, has compromised that foundation. NASSP is proud to be part of that effort to fill the leadership gap by gathering information on school conditions and disseminating that information in a way that will empower school leaders to make data-informed decisions to open schools and keep them open so students can continue to learn at their best.”

Are you a superintendent and want to enroll your school district? Complete our district enrollment survey here.

Are you a principal and want to enroll your school directly? Begin with the baseline survey here.

For further information, contact:
Noelle Ellerson Ng, AASA,
Emily Oster, Brown University,
Danny Carlson, NAESP,
Bob Farrace, NASSP,
Jessica Jones, Qualtrics,