Group tracking COVID-19 in schools across Canada
OTTAWA -- Parents and teachers across Canada now have one central place to track COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.
A volunteer group of physicians, data scientists and other advocates has created the Canada COVID-19 School Report Tracker, which tracks and maps out COVID-19 cases in schools across the country.
“The goal is to really make these data available and transparent to parents, educators, and policymakers to help push for policies for safer schools,” Dr. Shraddha Pai, a postdoctoral fellow at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research at the University of Toronto, told CTV News Ottawa.
The group, called Masks4Canada, is asking people to submit cases from across the country by filling out a form on their website and sending supporting documentation, such as a letter from a school board or local public health unit.
“Once we verify the information, we put the data points up on the Google map and if you click on a point, you can see the supporting document that goes with it,” Pai said.
Masks4Canada is a grassroots group that advocates for the wearing of masks and face coverings in reducing the spread of COVID-19. The group has also written open letters to several provinces calling for mandatory masks.
Along with providing a single spot for people to track COVID-19 cases in schools, Pai said the data will be used for further analysis.
“The idea is to make the data computable…so we can download the map data and do some analyses with it.”
Mask policies in schools vary across Canada. In most provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta, they are mandatory for students from Grades 4 to 12 and recommended for younger children. But in others, such as Saskatchewan, the decision is left up to individual school boards.
- With files from CTV News Ottawa's Matt Skube