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April 20, 2020

Connecting Americans to Coronavirus Information Online

By CIO Council Support

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This proclamation was first posted on White House.gov on April 15th, 2020.

While there is no shortage of coronavirus content on the internet, the American people need access to the most up-to-date public health guidance and most relevant information on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing facilities in their communities. The White House and key Federal agencies are working alongside Schema.org to help ensure these critical resources surface across online search engine results.

Schema.org is a collaborative community activity founded by tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to create standard tags that can be added to any website’s code, making webpages containing particular information easier to find in search results. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Schema.org released new standard tags for webpages containing information about COVID-19 prevention measures, disease spread statistics, quarantine rules and travel guidance, as well as information about getting tested.

In an effort to enhance the visibility of coronavirus information online for the American public, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have directed Federal Chief Information Officers to incorporate these new Schema.org standard tags into all federally maintained webpages related to COVID-19. In addition, OSTP and OMB are encouraging the private sector, State and local governments, and the academic community to do the same.

We call on Chief Information Officers to update their websites with these new Schema tags, which will help Americans find the latest official public health announcements and information through their search engine queries. At the same time, local pharmacies, clinics, and businesses hosting COVID-19 testing facilities can utilize the new tags to help Americans search for location sites and hours of operation right in their communities. Local and State organizations can also tag their webpages to provide new guidelines and notices, such as closures, revised hours, or changes in restrictions.

In order to increase adoption of this new standard, The White House called on the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program to circulate instructions for Federal and non-government digital teams to use in marking up their websites. An effort is also underway to develop additional tags for scientific and other auxiliary information related to COVID-19, led by National Science Foundation funded Open Knowledge Network projects, the Department of Energy, and the National Institutes of Health.

As millions of Americans turn to the internet in search of information related to COVID-19, the Trump Administration is committed to ensuring every American has access to timely and relevant public health updates. Today’s announcement builds upon President Trump’s whole-of-America response to COVID-19, with the private sector stepping up in patriotic service to combat the pandemic.

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