Monitoring Different Social Media Platforms to Report Unplanned School Closures Due to Wildfires in California, October and December 2017

Brittany M. Buchanan, Haley I. Evans, Ngozi P. Chukwudebe, Emily A. Duncan, Jingjing Yin, Bishwa B. Adhikari, Xiaolu Zhou, Zion Tsz Ho Tse, Gerardo Chowell, Martin I. Meltzer, Isaac Chun Hai Fung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitor unplanned school closure (USC) reports through online systematic searches (OSS) to assist public health emergency responses. We counted the additional reports identified through social media along with OSS to improve USC monitoring. Methods: Facebook and Twitter data of public-school districts and private schools in counties affected by California wildfires in October and December of 2017 and January of 2018 were retrieved. We computed descriptive statistics and performed multivariable logistic regression for both OSS and social media data. Results: Among the 362 public-school districts in wildfire-affected counties, USCs were identified for 115 (32%) districts, of which OSS identified 104 (90%), Facebook, 59 (52%), and Twitter, 37 (32%). These data correspond to 4622 public schools, among which USCs were identified for 888 (19.2%) schools, of which OSS identified 722 (81.3%), Facebook, 496 (55.9%), and Twitter, 312 (35.1%). Among 1289 private schools, USCs were identified for 104 schools, of which OSS identified 47 (45.2%), Facebook, 67 (64.4%), and Twitter, 29 (27.9%). USC announcements identified via social media, in addition to those via OSS, were 11 public school districts, 166 public schools, and 57 private schools. Conclusion: Social media complements OSS as additional resources for USC monitoring during disasters.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ICHF acknowledges support from the CDC (18IPA1808820; 19IPA1908208).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc.


  • Facebook
  • Internet
  • public health surveillance
  • Twitter
  • wildfires

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