COVID-19 Risk Mapping: Why School-Level GIS Matters

Nashon J. Adero
4 min readOct 14, 2020

The plane-mirror view throws a virtual image of bygone headwaters of COVID-19 in Africa, but the real image downstream could turn out to be different especially if we peek at the sorry state of basic schools in deprived environments.

Education Sector Management as a Mirror of Leadership

COVID-19 has dealt the education sector a major blow, a complex sector deeply embedded in social systems. Though it is undisputed that social systems are more complex than mechanical systems, more research and rigorous attention has been given to designing courses of action that address mechanical or technological systems, than social systems. Isn’t it a paradox to relegate decisions that affect education, the creative fabric of a civilised society, to intuition and rushed linear thinking in boardroom environments which are devoid of systems thinking or comprehensive decision models tested for robustness in real environments? Such is the predicament the education sector finds itself in when not given the top thought leadership and adequate resources it deserves.

As at October 13, 2020, the global case fatality rate was 2.9% — higher than Africa’s 2.4% and Kenya’s 1.9% (up from 1.6% recently). The recovery rates have been increasing, reaching a mean of 75% globally, 80% in Africa, and 75% in Kenya by the same date. With more than 7 million cases already this week, India, as earlier expected and projected in this series as testing rates increased, is now headed to catch up with the USA in COVID-19 cases. The USA has reported more than 8 million cases already, albeit with a lower recovery rate of 65% and worse case fatality rate of 2.7% than India’s 87% and 1.5%, respectively.

The plane-mirror view throws a virtual image displaying the raging headwaters of COVID-19 to be behind Africa already. The real magnitude of the downstream effects of the wavy warrior which is the wily pandemic is, however, still hidden from sight as schools reopen in Africa. Technologically driven mapping of risk levels by location is the periscope needed to visualise the hitherto masked future. Examples of risk mapping from the West show geographical risk profiles categorised as high, medium or low risk.

The COVID risk factors vary by location, culture, as well as demographic and environmental variables, hence the pressing need for…

Nashon J. Adero

A geospatial and systems modelling expert, lecturer, youth mentor and trained policy analyst, who applies system dynamics to model complex adaptive systems.