An update to how U.S. school districts are responding to COVID-19


A few weeks ago, I wrote about an attempt to understand how United States (U.S.) school districts are responding to COVID-19 (link here). A big part of that earlier work was a map depicting the number of districts within states mentioning COVID-19.

With inspiration, ideas, and help from Teya Rutherford, Daniel Anderson, Alex Lishinski, and Ha Nguyen), the underlying data is more trustworthy and the map is now interactive (and is at the district, rather than the state, level) and is available here (or by clicking the screenshot below):

screenshot of app

I’m looking to continue and expand this work - to make it more useful to others and (going ahead) to try to ask and answer questions about how districts are responding (in ways that may be more or less fair in terms of what students are involved in doing.

Such a project would likely involve (at least) programatically accessing districts’ websites (web scraping), but also qualitative coding (or validation… which may also require contacting some districts), extracting text from PDFs, Natural Language Processing, and understanding the place of districts in the wider education system (and how to access other data on districts, such as data from the U.S. Census or the National Center for Education Statistics). It’s complex!

Ideas and input are welcomed.

All of the data and the app itself are open and available for use and re-use.

Also, h/t to Isabella Velásquez for talking through and sharing advice about multiple aspects of this project.