Established in 1993, Pinecrest Academy is a private PreK-12 college preparatory catholic school in Georgia, voted #1 Catholic high school in the state by Niche.com, and voted best private school in Forsyth County seven years in a row. Pinecrest Academy enjoys a 100% graduation rate, and many of their 21 sports teams compete at the state level annually.
Pinecrest Academy is one of 154 RC Education schools and universities- a network that spans 18 countries worldwide. RC Education has graduated more than 65,000 students, boasting more than 60 years in Catholic education.
Like many schools in 2020, Pinecrest Academy had to decide whether to offer in-person learning, remote learning, or a hybrid model. Given the feedback from parents, medical experts, the CDC, and their 23-member COVID-19 Task Force, Pinecrest Academy decided to offer face-to-face learning and remote learning for students put in quarantine.
To provide their students face-to-face learning while keeping everyone healthy was a daunting challenge. A complete set of COVID-19 health protocols would need to be created, and systems and processes developed to help the school track any COVID-19 infections on campus and quickly prevent the spread of the virus. They would also need to track students, faculty, and staff through quarantine, remote learning, return dates, and the ability to report this information to the Department of Public Health regularly.
Like many schools, Pinecrest Academy started out using Google Sheets to manage this entire process. Their goal was to minimize the cost of new solutions and leverage existing manual processes. But in the summer of 2020, as the cheer leading, fencing, cross-country and football teams returned to campus for practice and the school began enacting its new COVID-19 Protocols, it quickly became evident that their current manual campus health approach wouldn't work.
"Initially, during the summer, we did have some cases, and we were keeping track on Google Sheets but realized that as students and faculty came back on campus, that was going to be a daunting task to keep track of."
– Missy Collins, Pinecrest Academy School Nurse
Pinecrest Academy's leadership and clinical staff responsible for managing the campus's health realized that they risked becoming overwhelmed with the additional requirements of managing COVID-19 on campus when the entire student body returned in the fall. This could have profound implications for student, faculty and staff health on campus, and possibly even the viability of the school's entire face-to-face learning model.
To enable Pinecrest Academy to see and manage their campus health environment and stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. IPC Global created an interactive solution that integrates information from the school's BlackBaud Student Information System (SIS) and replaces all the schools existing spreadsheets with mostly automated tracking, tracing, and reporting functions.
To make this data usable, we created an automated workflow and dashboard that lets Pinecrest Academy manage their entire COVID-19 process with intuitive charts, tables, team collaboration, and other visualizations. Nurses can now see and manage their whole COVID-19 workflow and view and analyze their entire campus health picture, at-a-glance and from within the same application. Data is continually refreshed, so the latest information is always available to inform decisions, and the intuitive interface making navigating between faculty and staff a seamless workflow.
"It makes my job a lot easier; the hardest part is having to contact the parents to let them know their child has been exposed. It keeps down the workload on my end."
– Missy Collins, Pinecrest Academy School Nurse
As soon as a student, faculty, or staff member is identified on campus as having symptoms of COVID-19, they are integrated into the Campus Health Tracker and visible for nursing staff. School health staff can track individuals and groups through suspected cases, awaiting tests, test outcomes, contact-tracing, and- if required- quarantine and readmission back into the school. Integrating data from different sources means that everyone at Pinecrest Academy has access to the information they need all the time. Interactive visualizations and automated workflows mean that vital student health information is easy to understand and analyze so that proper action can be taken quickly and without extra administrative work.
The technologies used to build the Campus Health Tracker are Qlik Sense for data integration, process workflow and visualizations, Vizlib for automation and database writeback, and AWS for cloud hosting and compute in a secured FERPA and HIPAA compliant environment.
Establishing effective COVID-19 protocols and supporting them with the Campus Health Tracker has enabled Pinecrest Academy to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic successfully. They have achieved no community transmission of the virus on campus, kept their school population healthy, and most importantly, have been able to provide high-quality in-person learning through the pandemic at a time when many other schools were unable to.
The ability to effectively track infections on campus and at school events helped Pinecrest Academy minimize community transmission and keep students healthy. Integrating data with interactive visualizations and workflow automation gave Pinecrest Academy health staff the ability to see COVID-19 on their campus and swiftly take proper action to stop it. The increased demands of managing the pandemic on school health staff are no secret, and the ability to efficiently manage their workload has been key to the success of Pinecrest’s health staff.
"It [Campus Health Tracker] built a level of trust very quickly, in that we knew what we were doing, we had a handle on it, and we could manage situations and make decisions quickly in real-time because we had that data…"
- Charlene Dougal, Pinecrest Academy Assistant Head of School
The school’s actions and communications around Covid-19 gave the school’s families confidence that their students were being educated and staying healthy, and contributed to a 0% attrition rate for new enrollments Pinecrest Academy in the 2020-21 school year. In fact, due to the school’s effective navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic, new enrollments have increased substantially for the 2021 school year.
With interactive visualizations, integrated data, and intuitive workflows and automation, Pinecrest Academy effectively managed their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, kept their school population healthy, and stayed open for high-quality in-person instruction. They serve as a powerful example of how schools can use technology with the right people and processes to achieve extraordinary results.