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Schools closing due to COVID: Track district updates as omicron spreads

An interactive map shows the operational status of school districts across the country as they face the latest winter wave of COVID-19.

Schools closing due to COVID: Track district updates as omicron spreads
[Source Images: Mint Images/Getty]

Students, teachers, and parents are bracing themselves for another chaotic week as the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 continues its march across the country. 

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Given the speed with which omicron can spread, districts are facing the unenviable choice of whether to keep schools open or go fully remote, and school officials are often left to make on-the-fly policy and scheduling changes that further frustrate just about everyone involved.  

To get a sense of how quickly the situation is changing for schools on the ground, you can visit the latest iteration of the COVID-19 Impact map from MCH Strategic Data, which is tracking the operational status of K-12 school districts across the country. 

The map was produced in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and uses software from spatial analytics firm Esri. It offers a color-coded overlay of the known status for each school system (red for full in-person, yellow for remote learning only, blue for hybrid, etc), and includes additional information on staff mask policies. You can search the map by location or by district, or just click on the area and pull up the information panel. 

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As of Monday, the map still had a lot districts marked “pending,” so if you’re looking for up-to-date policies on a specific district, you’re probably better off going directly to the source. (MCH says updates to the map are added daily.) Broadly speaking, the tool is more useful as an overview of what’s happening regionally and how schools’ operational policies play out over time. MCH has been tracking this data since 2020 and even has a time-lapse section where you can see how the changes in teaching methods unfolded and evolved since the early days of the pandemic. 

You can check out the full map here.

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About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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