Fordham, Long Island and Yeshiva universities get an “F” for keeping their communities in the dark on their coronavirus cases, a group of public-health experts says.
The Web site “We Rate COVID Dashboards’’ — founded by researchers including from Yale and Harvard universities — has been issuing “report cards’’ based on whether colleges have COVID-19 information dashboards, how frequently they report related data and how detailed the information may be, such as breakdowns between students and staffers.
Fordham, Long Island University, Yeshiva, Princeton and Johns Hopkins flunked for not having an adequate or even existing dashboard, the site said.
On the plus side, New York state’s Stony Brook University earned an A, as did Colgate, Vassar, Cornell, Brown, Harvard, Yale and Tulane.
The entire State University of New York system received a B+ for creating a central dashboard for its entire 64 campuses. The dashboard also provides links to results at each campus, including Stony Brook.
Meanwhile, Columbia University earned a B+, while New York University obtained a B grade.
One head-scratcher is Johns Hopkins University, which has a renowned Coronavirus Resource Center that tracks infections globally and nationally, with state-by-state breakdowns. It does not appear to have a dashboard for COVID-19 cases at its Baltimore campus, earning it an F from the rating group.
“We’re rating schools on transparency, the quality of the data and how they convey the information,” said Dr. Howard Forman, a Yale professor of health policy and radiology who co-founded the rating site, to The Post.
Ayotomiwa Ojo, a Harvard University medical student and chief researcher for “We Rate COVID Dashboards,” added, “It’s important these institutions are held accountable.
“Students, parents, college employees and local communities have a stake in information about COVID-19. Thousands of campus students are coming into their communities.”
But Fordham spokesman Bob Howe slammed the site’s “F’’ grade for the Bronx-based college, saying his school’s dashboard was significant and that the Web site’s “research could use a little work.’’
Fordham’s COVID-19 Web site dashboard provides results at its Bronx Rose Hill and Manhattan Lincoln Center campuses on a 14-day rolling average and is shared on social media including Twitter. The figures show it has had 12 positive cases out of 3,649 students and staff tested, for an infection rate of 0.33.
Ojo said positive cases and infection rates should be updated every 48 hours.
LIU, Yeshiva and Princeton did not immediately respond to e-mail inquiries from The Post.
LIU does not appear to have a dashboard on its Web site but did provide a Sept. 15 update on COVID-19.
“Since the start of classes, [LIU’s] Post campus has five positive cases of individuals who have physically been on campus,’’ the school wrote at the time. “The Brooklyn campus has no positive cases of individuals who have physically been on campus but is aware of two individuals who have not been on campus this semester that have tested positive.’’
Coronavirus-specific information about infection rates at Yeshiva University could not be found on its Web site.
About 150 schools have been rated by the researchers so far.
“People are recognizing the importance of this information,” Forman said. “The colleges are following us. They care.”
Rapid disclosure of infections is particularly crucial at college campuses in New York, the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic with by far the most fatalities of any state in the country.
One state-university campus, SUNY Oneonta, already canceled in-person classes for the fall semester because of a coronavirus outbreak, and dozens of students have been suspended at a number of colleges for violating COVID-19 health safety rules.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the state Liquor Authority to target bars in college towns where students congregate to see if they are abiding by safety rules to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.
Stanford University is an example of a school that went from worst to first on the researchers’ list.
The California school initially received an F grade for not having a COVID dashboard. It was then upgraded to an A after it recently posted a comprehensive dashboard, Forman said.
Forman said school officials have requested to be regraded after posting more COVID-19 data.
He said colleges have a public duty to provide comprehensive information about COVID-19 cases because the students and staff interact with people in the surrounding neighborhoods, which could lead to larger outbreaks.