By Collin Atwood
In the fall semester of 2020, Springfield College started testing students for COVID-19. Everyone would test once every two weeks and the college would let the community know how many positive tests there were on campus.
On March 30, 2021, the Division of Student Affairs sent an email to students and faculty stating that the COVID-19 dashboard was redesigned.
Parents, faculty and students gave their feedback on the original dashboard and claimed that it was not revealing enough information. As a result of this, multiple staff members met and discussed a way to make the dashboard more resourceful.
“We had our institutional researcher and a number of folks from communications get to the point where we could get more information sorted in a way that we thought was helpful,” said Patrick Love, Vice President for Student Affairs.
Now, the dashboard gives the viewer information that goes as far back as January, rather than just the current amount of positive cases at Springfield College. It shows the number of tests conducted since Jan. 4, 2021 and the positive cases since that point.
The same data is provided for the past 30 days, along with the past seven. Each time frame is accompanied by a positivity rate as well.
“We’re trying to provide enough information to the community in order to be informative,” Love said.
There is also a graph for the viewer to look at for each time frame. It shows how many cases and tests there were on a specific day. Information on how many students are quarantined or in isolation is given as well.
Another concern was that the information was not being updated in a timely manner. The numbers on the dashboard did not reflect the current number on campus at times. To solve this problem the dashboard will be updated three times a week instead of two.
With more information and quicker updates comes harder work. “Our commitment is to provide as much meaningful information to the community as possible, but to do it in a way that doesn’t overtax the units that are really trying to serve the students and do the testing and process the results and move students into supportive housing,” Love said.
With this new and improved dashboard, anyone can see how the college is doing currently and how Springfield College has improved or declined in the last week or month.
In addition, the college also added a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) page for anyone who may have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. That page will be updated as new information continues to roll out.
Photo: Springfield College