School district creates COVID dashboard

Sam Klomhaus — Enterprise Staff Writer
Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Livingston School District has launched an online dashboard in which community members can see exactly how many students and staffers in the district are in isolation or quarantine because of COVID-19.

Todd Wester, district curriculum director, created the dashboard last week and put it up for the first time Friday.

The dashboard shows different categories, such as the number of students and staff isolating because of positive COVID-19 tests, quarantining because of close contacts with COVID-19 cases at school, quarantining because of close contacts away from school, or symptomatic and awaiting test results.

A total of 70 students and staffers were isolated or quarantined Wednesday, according to the dashboard, including 55 students and 15 staffers.

Staff members include anyone who works at a school, Wester said, not just district staff.

According to the dashboard, as of Wednesday in the district there were 10 staff members isolating because of positive COVID-19 tests, as well as three students.

There was also one staff member in the district quarantining because of a close contact at school as well as seven students.

One staff member and 25 students were quarantining because of a close contact outside of school.

Also, according to the dashboard, three staff members and 20 students were symptomatic and quarantining, awaiting test results.

The dashboard is broken down into different schools. At Park High, there were two staffers positive for COVID-19, two students positive and 22 students in quarantine.

At Sleeping Giant Middle School, no one was COVID-19 positive, and one staffer and four students were in quarantine.

East Side School reported six staff members positive for COVID-19, but no cases among students. There were three staffers and 13 students in quarantine from East Side.

One staffer was positive at Winans Elementary, but no students. There were 10 students in quarantine at Winans.

At Washington Elementary, one student was positive for COVID-19, and three students were in quarantine. No staffers were COVID positive or in quarantine.

The data for the dashboard is collected by the secretaries from each school, who send the numbers to Wester each afternoon. Wester updates the dashboard each evening before he leaves work.

The dashboard also contains a brief message going over the situation at the district each day. Thursday’s read in part, “All quarantined close contacts and confirmed-positive staff and students are home. Staff counts include all persons who work at the school. Most instances of student contact continue to happen away from school.”

Wester said one of the main goals of the dashboard is transparency, and the district wants to share as much information as it can about the COVID-19 situation in schools.

More information puts the community in a better position to have a more informed response, he said.

One thing Wester said the dashboard has done is reassured people that school appears to be a pretty safe place, considering the low numbers of COVID-19 transmission that have occurred in Livingston schools.

“It appears to be relatively safe to be at school under our current schedule and procedures,” he said.

Wester said the district is continuing to adjust its COVID-19 systems as more information about the virus becomes available and the situation in Park County changes. He urged the community to follow COVID-19 guidelines from the government, especially with the cold weather keeping people inside.

Meanwhile, according to the state of Montana’s COVID-19 case map, Park County reported three new confirmed cases Thursday, bringing the county’s total case number to 673, 154 of which are active.

Statewide, there have been 65,122 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the state, 16,040 of which are active.

There have been 722 deaths in Montana attributed to COVID-19, three of which were Park County residents.

The school district’s COVID-19 dashboard can be viewed at