NEW ORLEANS – In an effort to provide timely updates about the current academic school year and any changes due to COVID-19, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) will issue weekly updates to the public with developments every Thursday.
Throughout the coming weeks and months, NOLA-PS will continue to partner with health experts to monitor the latest health data as we prepare for a phased return to in-person learning and provide regular updates to our school community. If any significant changes occur, decisions related to reopening will be reconsidered.
As always, NOLA-PS maintains the authority to close any school building and revert to distance learning at any point it becomes necessary in order to safeguard students, teachers, staff and their families.
UPDATES REGARDING RE-OPENING CAMPUSES TO STUDENTS
In conjunction with Phase 2 in the City of New Orleans, all Orleans Parish public schools are currently practicing distance learning. Last week, the District announced that the City’s current health data is exceeding all health and safety criteria and, unless our progress towards these goals changes, the District will begin a phased return to in-person learning, beginning with PreK through 4th grade students, starting between Sept. 14th through Sept. 25th.
The decision for a measured return to in-person learning was made following weeks of carefully tracking the latest health indicators – including a sustained decrease in the daily number of new COVID-19 cases at or below Phase 2 targets, a positive test rate of 5 percent or below and increased testing capacity. The District continues to carefully monitor these health metrics in coordination with City officials and our Medical Advisors.
As stated in last week’s press conference, one new factor that the district and city officials continue to track is the impact of high volumes of routine testing from recently opened universities. As with large increases in testing it is expected that the number of new cases may increase and our focus will remain on the city’s positive test rate and ensuring that it is at or below 5 percent, regardless of the volume of new tests.
Middle and high school students in grades 5th through 12th will continue distance learning until at least mid-October. At that time, if health data trends remain positive, these students will return on a hybrid model of in-person and distance learning. The reopening plan, guided by NOLA-PS’ Roadmap to Reopening, was announced with support from local public health officials.
Additionally, last week, NOLA-PS announced a multi-layered COVID-19 testing plan that focuses on providing acute responsive testing that will help increase the ease, accessibility and frequency of testing for both NOLA Public School students and staff. Please click here for list of FAQs about NOLA-PS’ Reopening Plan.
HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Earlier this summer, the District has provided schools with Supplemental Guidance on matters surrounding Operational Health and Safety Standards, Learning Resources, Guidance for Specialized Populations, What To Do When Someone Gets Sick and other resources. Those guidance documents are available to the public for review at nolapublicschools.com/covid19/roadmapguidance.
Additionally, each NOLA-PS school has received a kit with 4,800-9,200 disposable and reusable face masks; 200-750 face shields per site; 8,000-16,000 nitrile gloves per site; 10 gallons of hand sanitizer and 20 hand sanitizer stations; 4 no-touch thermometers; 40 thermal-insulated food storage bags; and 40 gallons of disinfectants per site. We will continue to work closely with schools across the district to ensure they have adequate PPE to ensure the health and safety of their students, teachers, staff and their families.
UPDATES ON COVID-19 CASES ACROSS THE DISTRICT
Schools are required to report positive cases of COVID-19 found on their campus to the District as well as the Louisiana Department of Health as they are found. We will include a round-up of any positive cases reported to us each week in these weekly press release updates once students return to in-person instruction on campuses.
OTHER DISTRICT NEWS – NOLA-PS DONATES CARE PACKAGES FOR ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS AFFECTED BY HURRICANE LAURA
This week, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) announced the donation of more than 400 care packages for elementary and secondary school students affected by Hurricane Laura.
NOLA-PS staff, along with the support of community partners from LCMC Health and the U.S. Census Bureau, stuffed backpacks with much needed school supplies, personal hygiene products, toiletries, face coverings and more. Additionally, NOLA-PS staff, along with OPSB President Ethan Ashley, delivered the care packages to the City’s relief distribution center at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center this afternoon. More info available here.