A team of high school students from the LITAS COVID-19 Taskforce recently built a webapp, called the "COVID-19 Zip Code Decoder" to help users retrieve information about the COVID-19 outbreak in their area based on their zip code.
The COVID-19 Zip Code Decoder was built by Oceana Covington (AZ), Megan Howell (AZ), Anjali Prabhu (CA), Chloe Rozalsky (AZ), and Adena Russel (PA) to give individuals access to accurate, centralized information about COVID-19 restrictions and active cases in their areas.
The LITAS For Girls COVID-19 Taskforce is a community of students from high school and college using their computer science skills to build real-world projects to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. The taskforce was launched in April of 2020 in response to the worsening COVID-19 situation.
As their motivation, the students wrote that:
"Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, there are not many places on the internet with all the information for residents residing in specific zip codes. Therefore, to solve this problem, we created a website that has several sources of information for residents in various states across the United States of America.
The information includes the number of COVID-19 cases in different zip codes and cities, the operation status for restaurants (open or closed), and the Twitters of state governors and city mayors. This information helps citizens to make more informed decisions on current, reliable COVID information and best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through safety practices and procedures such as social distancing, isolation, and quarantine."
The students conducted a presentation and a brief Q&A session about their project.
What was the top skill that you learned doing this project?
Anjali: "I was completely new to Github...that helped me get really familiar and I figured out it was a really easy way to put all our code in one area and it was easy for us to edit."
Chloe: "I was also new to Github and Sublime, so it was definitely a wonderful learning experience for me. It was wonderful to meet people from across the country and to complete this project."
Oceana: "I've learned a lot about the effects of COVID-19. I also learned more about collaboration, especially across the board - across the United States and even across the world, so it's been really fun."
How experienced were you with coding before?
Oceana: "I hadn't done a lot of web dev before, I had only created very small websites, so this was a bigger project."
Chloe: "I wasn't particularly experienced with coding or web development before, so this really helped me to expand my knowledge."
What has the COVID-19 Taskforce meant for you?
Anjali: "This was project was really important for me because it was one of my first exposures to working on something that was actually going to benefit a lot of people. Also, my team was amazing. They guided me throughout and they gave me so much help. I want to thank the LITAS group for providing me with this opportunity and this is so important. So I really enjoyed coding this project and it was really fun."
Chloe: "Thank you so much LITAS For Girls for providing us with this amazing opportunity. I loved meeting everybody and people I wouldn't have met otherwise, except through this experience. I thought that it was a great way to understand how to budget our time to create a project in the time we wanted to get it done in."
Adena: "Coming into this project, we each had an idea that we wanted to come together and help other people. Coming into this community and working with this team helped me to foster new friends and relationships, and create something that I wouldn't have been able to create individually and meet people from all over the country."
Megan: "I took the role of heading up the team. The most important part for me was seeing my team grow and want to jump in and get started, and build confidence. We built something that is impactful and influential, and we stuck with it, which I think is super important, and it shows a lot about all of us and our character."
Oceana: "I really enjoyed getting to be a part of this project and to expand my global view, and realize that no matter where we are in the world, we can make a real difference and we can help people. I've really enjoyed getting to work with everyone. Thanks LITAS for giving girls this opportunity - it's been an amazing opportunity for growth and for being able to change the world a little bit."