11 August, 2021

Love your kids? Check their school’s COVID situation.

icon delta variant,schools
Protect your children with masks. Check their school's COVID situation.

Parents have to protect their children against both COVID and reckless politicians. New maps highlight areas where COVID cases are accelerating.

Large amounts of data that's updated regularly can be overwhelming. How do you make sense of it quickly to make better decisions? Use a good map.

There are large amounts of data about COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. New numbers are collected from hospitals and clinics every data. Colored maps are good, but often hide the clarity that people need to make better decisions. Looking at COVID data on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis provides more perspective on trends and make it easier to answer questions such as:

- Are COVID-19 cases going up or down week to week?
- Is the number of cases accelerating or decelerating?
- Where are new case rates significantly higher?

Cartography is all about conveying information through maps. Charlie Frye and Jim Herries are two master cartographers at esri who have developed an innovative approach to present COVID data using arrows of different sizes and colors. I've applied their approach and data from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center to show the COVID danger level in school districts based on their county.

Purple arrows show cases going up while orange arrows show cases going down
Bigger arrows indicate where new case rates are significantly higher.
Scan the map for the size, color and direction of arrows for the dangerous areas.

Protect your children with masks. Check their school's COVID situation with this map using data from the John Hopkins Coronavirus resource center.

This map can be freely shared with this link or embedded in a web site with this code:

< iframe src="" width="100%" height="500px" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen allow="geolocation"></iframe>

The map is dynamic and will change automatically as new COVID data is released.

Clear and present danger

Notice the large, purple arrows in Miami, Coral Springs, West Palm Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg and Tallahassee. These areas are bad and getting worse.

The COVID crisis in Florida and Texas are getting worse as their Republican Governors ban mask mandates.

Maps make data usable

Most people are comfortable using maps to get directions and information on destinations. Maps are ideal for conveying a large amount of data with an easy-to-use interface. This StoryMap includes data on both COVID cases and trends along with school district boundaries which become visible as you zoom into the map. This short tutorial is included to give readers tips on how to use the map and understand the legend.

How to use this interactive COVID safety map to protect your loved ones.

Data for COVID safety

The John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center provides an excellent dashboard that shows the number of COVID cases and deaths per county. This map shows the number of COVID cases in a county, but does not reveal where the number of COVID cases is accelerating and for how long has that acceleration been taking place. It is also hard to gauge the COVID infection rate across two counties with vastly different number of residents.

Florida and Texas lead the country in COVID cases and deaths as their Republican Governors ban mask mandates.

Florida and Texas lead COVID surge

"In Florida, hospitalizations are now catching up after a month of increasing cases. The state had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 yesterday, the highest number the state has reported since the pandemic began, according to the Associated Press. Florida is now leading the nation in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19. Despite the rise in case activity, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order this weekend banning schools from issuing mask mandates." - Center For Infectious Disease Research and Policy

"Florida, Texas schools defy governors' bans on mask mandates as COVID cases soar. School districts in Florida and Texas are bucking their Republican governors' bans on requiring masks for children and teachers as coronavirus cases soar in conservative areas with low vaccination rates. In Dallas, where some staff had threatened to quit if masks were not mandated to protect children, teachers and others, school district officials said they did not believe the governor's order should be applied to them. Schools in Austin also plan to require masks." - Reuters


Blood on their hands
COVID incompetence unmasked
Managing an online COVID safety briefing
Encouraging vaccinations with videos and relational organizing
Pandemic profiteers

TakeAway: Politicians using your children's safety for their political ambitions is plain wrong. Make better informed decisions with good maps.


DeSantis puts school children in danger by banning mask mandates in schools.
Greg Abbott inflames COVID crisis in Texas
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