The Professionals Cohort (Quebec, Canada)
Olivier Drouin ventured into the treacherous waters of reporting cases in COVID-19 schools when Quebec dodged the responsibility last August.
Despite the lack of transparency in many schools, Olivier worked with teachers unions, parents, and schools to produce his data analysis on COVID-19 in schools.
“I am a team of one – single parent of two teenage daughters and VP technology for a large company in Montreal,” Olivier said. “This is volunteer work and I have spent at least 1000 hours since August 26th, 2020.”
Olivier Drouin’s website greets visitors with a pointed note:
The mission of this citizen initiative for transparency of data on schools affected by COVID is to make information available, accessible and intelligible in real time to school stakeholders (parents, teachers, staff members).
The site uses the creativity, intelligence and know-how of the community to create content, develop ideas, solve a problem or carry out an innovative project, all at a lower cost. This approach is commonly known as crowdsourcing.
The project is based on the strength of collective intelligence using crowdsourcing. The site publishes the number of schools affected by at least one positive case of COVID since August 26th.
The information comes from the public and is validated with a copy of the letter issued by public health or the school administration. This list is an evolving and non-exhaustive list. It is updated several times a day. You can submit positive COVID cases in your schools, whether you are a parent, teacher, service center employee or citizen.https://www.covidecolesquebec.org/
Drouin, who lives on Nuns’ Island, started tweeting about the pandemic in the summer, concerned about the government’s back-to-school plan. In September, Drouin founded a volunteer website, CovidEcolesQuebec.org, posting cases of COVID-19 in schools across the province, based on letters by principals sent to him from parents. The website quickly became one of the most visited in the province.
Drouin has also advocated for better ventilation in schools, including the installation of portable air purifiers in classrooms.
“Twitter has a real-time aspect to it, contrary to other social media,” Drouin explained.
“It is easy to connect quickly on content with experts (from) around the world on a given topic. When it came time to launch CovidEcolesQuebec.org, it was simply an extension of my community involvement and I felt it was important to create a separate account to promote the site and create a community of like-minded followers that would amplify the message and help make this crowdsourcing website a success.”
All of the data Olivier collects is public and easily accessible. Click here to download the raw data.
A few words from those who nominated Olivier:
“One parent, as a volunteer work, has been tracking all Quebec Covid cases in school since August 26th, at a time when the government was refusing to disclose the data. Using crowdsourcing method, he publishes official letters sent by school and public health to parents that confirm a case and compiles it in real time on a geospatial map. He manages also a twitter account and Facebook page. he was mentioned by elected officials at the national assembly of Quebec, covered in other 200 news media articles and name Most fascinating Montreal of 2020 by CJAD radio.”