As has often been the case with the coronavirus and its inexorable march across the nation, health officials have been greeted by awful surprises and technical breakthroughs.

One such breakthrough is the state’s upgrade of its online coronavirus school tracker to include a second set of district testing data from COVID-19 diagnostic laboratories so parents and caregivers of school-age children can monitor more accurate results.

The new coronavirus interactive tool, named the COVID-19 Report Card, tracks virus infections and testing numbers in each of the state’s 713 school districts including those in Greene and Columbia counties.

All schools, local health departments, laboratories and testing sites are required to report daily coronavirus data to the state Health Department for inclusion on the tracker. The expanded COVID-19 Report Card, at schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov, includes coronavirus data directly collected from medical facilities.

All parents, teachers and school administrators should take advantage of this tool to learn how school districts are doing with their plans to educate children in the midst of a pandemic. Many school superintendents we talked to last week said their districts’ reopening plans are succeeding in the first two weeks of the semester.

About 5,000 of the 92,953 COVID-19 tests conducted last Wednesday were of schoolchildren ages 5-17, Rhodes said. About 90 students tested positive.

Armed with data from the labs, parents, educators and administrators will be able to make rapid, crucial decisions in the best interests of the safety of students and teachers. They may not be easy decisions, but the goal is to give parents and teachers full knowledge to make the soundest possible decisions.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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