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Parents Create Their Own COVID-19 Dashboards When School Districts Do Not

SOUTHLAKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Frustrated by the lack of information on COVID-19 cases within their children's schools, some parents are taking on data collection themselves and building their own public dashboards.

"The lack of data  - it really means you're flying blind," said Sravan Krishna, of Southlake.

He pulled his 5 year old from school on the first day of class to start homeschooling, unsure how safe it would be to send him. His school district, Carroll ISD, notifies parents of cases in their child's classrooms, but no longer posts a dashboard allowing the public to see the number of cases districtwide or at individual campuses. The district says it would take three full time employees to operate, a move trustees haven't approved.

"We were going back to normal We were going to treat COVID like any virus like the flu and I think that if we go back to creating a dashboard, that's a step backwards," said trustee Hannah Smith during Monday's board meeting.

Krishna decided to create his own dashboard. It allows parents to share reports of cases in their children's classes and see all the data compiled.

Imperfect as the system may be, Krishna hopes to at least give parents  an idea of how cases are trending.

"This is the best we can do. And if somebody doesn't want us doing it – you do it," he said.

Plano ISD began the school year with no dashboard, as well.

"We noticed this drastic uptick in notifications, but nowhere where they were being tracked by the district," said Jamie Jackson, who has two children in the district. "We just thought we'd crowdsource this and do it ourselves."

Jackson is part of a group of Plano parents who created their own dashboard. There's even a color-coded map showing which schools have the highest ratios.

After it went up, Plano ISD chose to resume its official dashboard, a decision Jackson considers a direct response to her group's efforts.

She considers the information important for parents making tough choices.

She has a first grader, Morgan, who is learning from home, and she doesn't plan to change that until she sees case numbers at her school drop.

"There may be a chance I'd send her to school with a mask on," said Jackson.

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