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Teacher creates national database of COVID-19-related school closures

Teacher creates national database of Covid-19-related school closures
Posted at 2:06 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 16:53:44-04

A teacher in Kansas who just wanted to keep track of schools closing this fall because of COVID-19 cases, has created a nationwide database to help parents and educators.

Alisha Morris teaches in Kansas’ Olathe School District and as she prepared for this fall, began looking into how other districts and schools were handling the first few weeks of class.

“I was seeing a lot of articles about schools that were opening up and issues already happening on Day 1,” Morris, 29, said. “I thought, 'Wow!' Maybe these are a lot of repeat articles, and I’m just seeing the same thing over and over. Surely, there can’t be that many already,’” Morris told MyCentralJersey.com.

She started keeping track of articles and COVID-19 cases and closures at schools in a Google spreadsheet. She shared it with colleagues and friends, then with her school district’s board of education.

“The response I received was astronomical,” Morris said.

As word spread about the database, more submissions came in. There are more than 700 entries for more than 40 states. Morris has set up a way for people to submit cases and school closures through her spreadsheet.

Morris hopes to transition to a new system soon, with help from volunteers.

“When I first created this spreadsheet, I had no idea that it was going to become such a big thing. I realize the Google sheet is clunky right now, but rest assured that I'm working to get it transferred to a professional interface,” Morris posted on her spreadsheet.