The Monroe County School District quietly released a COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 25. The dashboard had been in development before the Keys Weekly published a plea for updated information, and the district released its first press release detailing local infections on Sept. 24.

“We had it ready to go and were working with the health department to make sure we were following all the HIPAA guidelines and so forth,” said Superintendent Theresa Axford, referencing the federal law governing the disclosure of private health data. “Now we have Monroe County’s health department’s blessing. We’re really happy with it.”

Axford said the dashboard will be updated twice a week — on Wednesday and Friday. It will only reflect confirmed COVID-19 cases. Situations in which staff or students need to quarantine, because of suspected exposure to coronavirus, will be handled separately, with telephone calls.

As of Sept. 29, the dashboard reveals 3 students have coronavirus — one each at Marathon High School, Switlik Elementary and Plantation Key School. One non-site-based staff member also has COVID-19.

The dashboard was developed by the district’s Dave Murphy, executive director of accountability and assessment.

“We used a system called Power BI, an analytic service by Microsoft,” Axford said. “He worked in coordination with our human resources department to develop it.”

Even with the dashboard, and Gov. DeSantis’ recent move to reopen to Phase 3, Axford said, Keys schools will continue to uphold vigorous defenses against community spread. Students and staff must continue to wear masks and Axford said the county’s top health administrator, Bob Eadie, confirmed that measure.

“We are keeping our safety measures in place and I am proud of our remarkable students and staff. We have social distancing, the mask wearing, hand washing, and cohorting (smaller class size),” she said.

To see the dashboard, visit keysschools.com and click on the link in the left hand column.

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