The Madison Metropolitan School District has shifted its timeline for reporting COVID-19 cases in the district.
Updates to the case count tracker on the website for the rest of the school year will reflect numbers from the previous Monday-Sunday, though the tracker will continue to be updated on Tuesday nights or Wednesday mornings. To this point, the numbers had reflected new positive cases and close contacts since the prior update the Wednesday before.
District spokeswoman Liz Merfeld wrote in an email that the change was "to align with the data we submit to the ABC Science Collaborative on a weekly basis."
"While the dates of data collection shifted, we wanted to continue updating the public facing dashboard on Wednesdays to give the staff person time entering this data time to compile it from the weekend," Merfeld wrote.
The change comes the same week the district announced it would shorten quarantine and isolation timelines in accordance with updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials also announced district health services staff will no longer contact trace within school buildings as they need to focus on other duties amid the Omicron case surge.
That means the case tracker will not feature large updates to the “close contact” number.
For the most recent Monday-Sunday period, when the district first made the reporting period change, the district added 703 cases, by far the most in any given weeklong period since Aug. 18, when 2021-22 school year reporting began. On the year, 2,184 district students and staff have tested positive.
School districts around Dane County, Wisconsin and the country vary in their case reporting this year.
The Verona Area School District, for example, has a dashboard that updates every five minutes. Other suburban districts here update weekly, like MMSD, but on different days of the week.
Some of the dashboards separate student and staff counts, others do not. MMSD began differentiating student and staff cases for the previous 14 days in the middle of the fall, but the total for the school year only shows the combined number.