Continuing Learning How to Code

I still have not learned how to make a timeline map to show outbreaks over time, although I think I am on the way to figuring it out. I watched the beginning of an 11 hour YouTube tutorial with that end in mind. Since I really want to learn the first principles of coding data visualization I want to take my time. I want to really understand how to build a website using HTML, CSS, and javascript rather than just educated guesses and trial and error (although I am pretty good at that type of coding when I need to make something work). I believe that the tutorial uses the D3 library for visualizations, but I have not gotten there yet. I am interested in learning D3 as I have read that it is very customizable. Although I do not think I have gotten close to the edge of the interesting visualizations I can make with Datawrapper and Amcharts.

Percent Public Schools with Active OUtBreak Map

I really like the outbreak maps I have made showing the locations of schools both public and private with a COVID-19 outbreak, as defined by the Maryland Health Department. However, these maps quickly get crowded and are kind of hard to read unless you zoom in closely. It is also hard to compare counties because counties are not all the same density. Also, the outbreak map by school takes a while to set up because I need to find the street address for each school. I have plans to use the vlookup feature in Excel to make match the names in the Maryland Health Department list, but most of the names do not match exactly so I expect that might take a while.

So, I decided to make a map showing the percentage of public schools with an active outbreak. I got the number of schools from the 2021 NCES School Directory list on the Maryland Report Card website. I had previously coded schools from the Maryland Health Department list from September 1, 2021, as public or private. I coded the list based on googling, I should probably check the list against the NCES School Directory, but I have not done that yet. Then I divided the total number of public schools by the number of schools with an outbreak listed. This was fairly quick, the most time-consuming part was coding the schools as public or private.

It should be noted that many public school systems have not opened yet as of September 1, 2021.

I like many things about this map. The size and specific location of outbreaks are lost, but it gives a general idea of the outbreaks in public schools in the State. I think for my own personal use I would want to see both the location-specific map showing cases per school and this map.

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 on September 1, 2021, to make the above map. 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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