In line with my interest in masking policies in public schools, I decided to map outbreak-associated cases in schools as reported by the Maryland Department of Health to check out the geolocation mapping feature of Datawrapper. As far as using the geolocation, it was super easy. I googled the address and pasted it into the correct box. I assume that the locations are generally accurate. It seems less precise than ArcView, but it seems to work well for when you are just trying to get a sense of the data. It did not that too long to enter the data for this number of locations. It would take a while if there were more locations. It would be much quicker if I had a spreadsheet with all the addresses of schools in the State pre-made and ready to go. I believe that there might be an official list of the public schools available. If I were to do this in the future I would explore using that existing spreadsheet.

I wish that I could add a choropleth map behind the location map to add another level of data details. I know it can be done with Arcview. But what you gain in usability you lose in features.

If you are wondering like I was about the outbreak at Quince Orchard when the school is not even open yet. The answer was found in this news article. Apparently, there was an outbreak in the football team which I assume has started practicing for the fall season.

Notes About the Data

These notes are copied from the Maryland Department of Health website.

Note: This dataset reflects public and non-public K-12 schools in Maryland that have COVID-19 outbreaks. Data are based on local health department reports to MDH, which may be revised if additional information becomes available. This list does not include child care facilities or institutes of higher education. Schools listed meet 1 or more of the following criteria:

Classroom/cohort outbreak definition:    1) At least two confirmed COVID-19 cases among students/teachers/staff within a 14-day period and who are epidemiologically linked, but not household contacts; or

School-wide outbreak definition:    

2) Three or more classrooms or cohorts with cases from separate households that meet the classroom/cohort outbreak definition that occurs within 14 days; or
 3) Five percent or more unrelated students/teachers/staff have confirmed COVID-19 within a 14 day period (minimum of 10 unrelated students/teachers/staff).

Cases reported reflect the current total number of cases. Schools are removed from the list when health officials determine 14 days have passed with no new cases and no tests pending. Archival data is available through the COVID-19 open data catalogue. These data are updated weekly on Wednesdays during the 10 a.m. hour. MDH is continuously evaluating its data and reporting systems and will make updates as more data becomes available.

I pulled data at noon on August 25, 2021, to make the above map. As I discuss locations are approximate. I provided the information on whether a school is public or private. All errors are my own. This map is not official, it is primarily for the purpose of me exploring the visualization features and keeping track of what I learned.

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