Drew Coyne’s Advanced Placement Economics class is one of the most popular at Staples High School. It’s challenging, interactive, and very real-world-oriented.
Before most Americans were concerned about COVID-19, Coyne gave an assignment: research the virus’ impending impact on the United States.
At first it was interesting. Then it got frightening.
When Westport schools closed last week, the reality hit home. Rishabh Mandayam — one of Coyne’s 11th-grade students — wanted to understand how quickly and severely towns like ours would be impacted.
So — working with his younger sister Raina — he created a COVID-19 tracker.
The goal is to track the rate of community spread, and increase awareness statewide about the virus.
Data comes from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, CDC and ECD (European equivalent) sites.
Rishabh used a programming language called R to pull the information and create graphs. He published it using HTML and Firebase. His interest was sparked through Staples classes like Introduction to Web Programming and AP Computer Science, with David Scrofani and Clare Woodman.
As you can imagine, Rishabh is a go-getter. He’s co-president of the Coding Club, vice president of Future Business Leaders of America, and a member of the Math Honors Society and Staples Science Olympiad team. He’s currently doing an independent study course in machine learning.
Outside of school he tutors students in math and science. He spent last summer as a software engineering intern at Lockheed Martin, and will return there this summer.
Rishabh has seen websites that track COVID-19 nationally; some do it worldwide. As far as he knows, this is the only site that tracks it exclusively in Connecticut.
Feedback has been very positive. He’s enhancing the tracker regularly, with new ideas and tweaks.
During breaks, of course, from his distance learning — including plenty of work for AP Economics.
(Click here for Rishabh’s COVID-19 tracker.)