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Back to school during COVID-19: Why location matters

Visualizing school locations with COVID-19 risk factors can enhance surveillance and intervention strategies at the neighbourhood level.

In this story map, we demonstrate how layering socio-demographic and epidemiological data with school locations in a map can help elucidate where public health practitioners should focus their surveillance and health promotion efforts this fall. Contextualizing risk factors in school neighbourhoods is fundamental to timely action in case of sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks. We use the Toronto region as an example to illustrate the value of aligning location-based data at the neighbourhood level.

To learn more about why location intelligence is critical to future public health planning, attend our presentation Mapping out Canada’s digital public health future at HIP Week Live 2021: Futureproof on Monday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. ET.

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This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

Alexander (Sandy) Watts is the Public Health Industry Manager for Esri Canada. He supports the digital future of Canada’s public health community by illuminating the power of GIS for health challenges unique to Canadian populations. As a spatial epidemiologist, he has led various geospatial research projects for epidemic preparedness and responses, creating GIS-driven solutions that supported policy decisions and resource allocation strategies at the Public Health Agency of Canada, the US-CDC Division of Global Migration & Quarantine and the World Health Organization. Sandy is passionate about the potential for location intelligence and GeoAI innovations to solve longstanding and future public health challenges, especially to reduce health inequities.

Profile Photo of Alexander Watts