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A special report on the government IT response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus has upended government and education operations along with everything else, putting an unprecedented strain on information technology resources as states, cities and universities move their operations online and send their employees to work remotely for weeks or possibly months. The effects have been immediate and severe: Events, including NASCIO's midyear conference, have been canceled; government services have gone digital as workforces stay home; states have pushed for relaxations of federal regulations, like the impending deadline for Real ID compliance. In this collection of news coverage, StateScoop and EdScoop show how the current health crisis is challenging leaders and what steps IT organizations can take to help slow — and eventually stop — the virus' spread. Read more.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Civic technologists step up

A loose network of more than 1,000 data scientists, user-design experts and civic-minded technologists — called the U.S. Digital Response for COVID-19 — formed last week to aid state and local government agencies in the fight to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The group, led by several nationally known civic-technology leaders including Code for America founder Jennifer Pahlka and former Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Cori Zarek, will offer aid on everything from logistics and data visualization to back-end development. “A lot of resources are focused on the federal government, as they should be, and that sometimes leaves state and local leaders without as much direct coordination and opportunity to work together,” Zarek told StateScoop. Ryan Johnston reports.

The 7 habits of highly effective coronavirus websites

The mantras of state and local governments vary only in detail and typically boil down to accepting a responsibility that services be delivered to those who need them most. During a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, that circle of need widens. State and many cities have created dedicated websites to give their constituents the latest information on the number of reported coronavirus cases, business closures and other restrictions being implemented to slow the spread of illness. But not all sites are created equally. See which are doing better and worse in keeping a worried public informed and assured. See the list.

GIS plays critical role in states' response to coronavirus pandemic

Geospatial data is at the core of how states are responding to the coronavirus pandemic, experts said on the latest episode of StateScoop’s "GIS Addressed" podcast. “GIS is more than just dots on a map. It’s been a little stressful, as you can imagine … but we are honored to have the opportunity to utilize our talents and the platforms that we have available to support the response to this event," said Julia Fischer, Maryland’s geographic information office. Maryland's coronavirus response website is built on Esri’s ArcGIS platform, which displays a map of where cases have been confirmed throughout the state. Listen to the podcast.

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