Message from NOLA-PS Superintendent of Schools

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NEW ORLEANS – With the number of presumptive positives cases of coronavirus in Louisiana now up to 14, and many school campuses being closed, NOLA-PS released the following statement.

As you know, our first priority as a district is to maintain the health, safety and well-being of our students, teachers and staff. Amid rising concerns about COVID-19 in New Orleans, I wanted to share a brief update about how we are coordinating with schools and city officials to keep our students and school communities safe and healthy at this time.

Yesterday, the District presented our proactive coronavirus emergency preparedness plan to the New Orleans City Council Smart & Sustainable Cities Committee. While there are currently no reported cases of COVID – 19 in any NOLA public schools, we are in constant communication with school leaders. We are coordinating closely with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure we have the latest information to disseminate to our school community.

While we don’t know what exactly to expect in the days and months to come, I am confident we have sound systems in place to make decisions and address needs as they are identified. Specifically, NOLA-PS is prioritizing planning for continued delivery of critical services, such as instruction, child nutrition, and social and medical services in the event of individual or systemwide school closures.

Last week we hosted a meeting with school leaders to work together to make the best decisions for families. We continue to provide specific directions to schools, in accordance with guidance from state and local officials, on the clear and specific steps they can take to prepare their schools and keep their school communities safe. Our goal is to keep schools open, as long as health officials advise us to do so, given the tremendous disruption closures would cause to our parents, caregivers and students. Any closure decisions will be made in-line with the CDC’s guidance and recommendations from local and state health agencies.
Additionally, we have shared guidance with schools specifically on what to do and whom to contact when a student or staff member is possibly exposed to COVID-19. Specifically:

If there is known contact with a presumptive positive case of COVID-19, the individual is asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
If a student, staff or faculty member is a confirmed case or attended school prior to becoming confirmed, NOLA PS in collaboration with LDH and NOHD may recommend the cancellation of school and associated events.
In order to serve our community effectively, we have established a webpage on the NOLA-PS website for parents, teachers, and families that will act as a resource to learn about, prevent, and confront any cases of COVID-19. We also encourage everyone to follow recommendations from the Louisiana Department of Health.

I know these are uncertain times, but by following the advice of health and city officials and working together to keep our children and educators healthy, we will persevere.

I will be in touch again soon.

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
NOLA-PS Superintendent of Schools

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