I have been semi-regularly recording the active COVID-19 cases for students and staff of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPA). Recently AACPS has been updating their data daily, but life has gotten in the way, so I have not remembered to check the data daily and they do not publish the archived data.

As of October 13, 2021, the number of student active cases was the highest on October 1, 2021, when there were 237 active cases. The higher number of staff cases I recorded was on September 27, 2021, when there were 33 active cases. The number of active cases seems to be trending downward. I hope the trend continues. I

I plan to calculate the percentage of students and staff with active cases so I can compare the data, but I have not yet found the time to find the data with the number of students and staff for this year. Until I do that calculation I do not know if a higher percentage of students or staff have had active cases.

Data Notes From Anne ArunDel County Pubic Schools

1. The tables on this page reflect positive cases, confirmed by testing, with an onset date  of September 8, 2021, or later that have been made known to Anne Arundel County      Public Schools. Schools/Offices with zero student or staff cases do not appear in the tables. The data also includes cases of COVID-like symptoms in which a      person is not tested for a period of 48 hours after onset of symptoms, and probable cases, which occur when an individual with a COVID-like symptoms is found to have close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. Such cases are treated as if they are positive for COVID-19 in terms of identification of close contacts and potential exposures. Cases that appear on this dashboard and are later determined to be false positives or the like will be deleted in subsequent updates.

2. An “active case” is one in which the individual who tested positive is still under 10-day quarantine.

3. A positive case, COVID-like symptoms case, or probable case does not mean the individual exposed others at school or work, or that the individual contracted the virus at school or work.

4. Students enrolled in virtual-only learning and who are not part of any extracurricular activities are not included in this data.

5. Due to differences in reporting methodology, this information may not match the data presented by the Maryland Department of Health.

Currently Quaranting

This chart shows the number of students and staff currently quarantining according to Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) COVID-19 data dashboard. The dashboard is currently being updated daily, but I have not been diligent about collecting the data daily; therefore there is data missing from some days. So far, according to the data I recorded, the number of students quarantining peaked at 1,756 on September 29, 2021. On that date, there were 40 staff members quarantining, which was also a high point.

Below I have copied what AACPS says about who is included in the number of students and staff currently quarantining.

The number of current quarantine cases above includes those who are COVID-19 positive through confirmed testing, those who have been designated as having COVID-like symptoms, and those who are probable cases as defined below on this page. It also includes those who have been determined to be close contacts of those persons and who are not fully vaccinated. The data includes cases traced in schools as well as those involving AACPS students that are traced in the community and have no immediate impact on schools.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

THoughts about the Chart

I like that datawrapper provides several options for displaying the date at the bottom of a chart. Because I have taken foreign languages and lived abroad, I have used both the day/month/year date formate and the month/day/year formate. I find it sort of confusing switching between the format conventions, so I'm happy that there is an option that eliminates that potential confusion by using the month abbreviations as such "Sep" or "Oct" with the date number above. I find this date format easier to read.

I used the straight number of students and staff currently quarantining for this chart because I was interested in the actual numbers. I could also show the percentage of students and staff currently quarantining. I would need to find an accurate count of students and staff for the current school year to make that chart.

Keeping up with the COVID-19 data published by Anne Arundel County Public Schools on an individual school basis is not really sustainable because it is currently being published daily. The data can not be downloaded so it has to be transcribed by hand. So I am looking at some other ways to visualize the data that might be less time-intensive, and still informative. My primary goals are to 1) learn how to build various data visualizations, and 2) explore the utility of various data visualizations. Maintaining a data dashboard, unless I am curious about the data that day is not my primary purpose.

One idea is to look at the cumulative COVID-19 cases by both students and staff on a daily basis. I did not think to capture this data earlier, so I have a few days of data missing. I also have missing days because life got in the way. It doesn’t seem hard to enter in a few data points every day until you get wrapped up in life and then you realize that you haven’t even looked at the website in a few days. I wish that they published the data in a way that I could download their archival data, but I will take what they share. The Maryland Health Department publishes their archival school outbreak data; however, their data only reflects outbreaks (as they have defined them) and is only published once a week on Wednesdays. Because of the missing data, I used the step model of lines as I think it is a more honest way to show the data.

This line chart shows the cumulative daily COVID-19 cases for students and staff for the 2021-2022 school year. The number of cases are from the Anne Arundel County Public Schools data dashboard. I have added dots for the days that I recorded the published data. There are no dots on the days that I do not record the data.

Commmunity college Graduation and Transfer Data

According to the Career and College Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013, it is the State’s goal that all degree-seeking students enrolled in a public community college earn an associate’s degree before leaving the community college or transferring to a public four-year higher education institution. Therefore the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) tracks community college students’ graduation and transfer outcomes. MHEC does not have the ability to follow students who transfer to out-of-state institutions. Therefore, the data only reflects transfers to institutions in Maryland.

For this data set, the analysis cohort is all first-time, full-time students entering Maryland community colleges within the fall term of a given year. Three successful outcome measures are tracked.

  • Graduated and transfered: Student graduated with an associate degree or lower-division certificate and transfered to a Maryland four-year college or university.
  • Graduated/Did not transfer: Student graduated from a Maryland community college with an associate degree or lower-division certificate and did not transfer to a Maryland four-year instituion.
  • Transferred to four-year college or univeristy without graduating: Student transferred to a Maryland four-year insitution, withou having completed an associate degree or lower-division certificate.

Now Most Community College Transfer Students Graduate Before Transfering

I decided to display the data as a line chart, but with different visual clues from MHEC’s original line chart. For my chart, I added shading between graduated and transferred and transferred without graduating. I like how it clearly shows that in 2014 the number of students who graduated before transferring surpassed those who transferred before graduating. Although the numbers had been trending in that way, the legislation likely had some impact.

I wish we had the data to analyze the outcome of both types of transfer students at four-year institutions. Past research suggests that the students that graduated community college first prior to transferring be more successful, but I wonder if this is still true. This might be a question to examine in the future.

64% of a Cohort does not transfer or graduate in four years

The line chart above does not capture the approximately 64% of the cohort that do not graduate or transfer within four years, so I decided to make an area chart. The area chart shows that the majority of students that begin as first-time, full-time community college students do not graduate or transfer within four years. Although when the number of first-time, full-time students decreased after peaking during the Great Recession, the percent of students that did not graduate or transfer has dropped to about 60% of the cohort.

This data set does not capture if these students are still persisting or if they dropped out. It is also possible that these students transferred to a two-year or four-year institution out of State. This data set only captures a subset of successful outcomes for community college students: graduation and in-state transfer.

This chart reminds me that while measuring the success of transfer students that did or did not graduate is interesting and important, there are a large number of students that entered community college as full-time students who have not graduated or transferred.

Maryland Community College Student Outcomes

This data only tells part of the story of community college student outcomes, but it is a good place to start. One of the biggest issues in education public policy is the lack of data that tells the whole story. Another issue is knowing what data is important to analyze. I plan to continue to look for data to analyze.