I am a parent, a former social studies teacher and superintendent, and now I lead a nonprofit that supports New Orleans public schools. With each of these perspectives, I know we must collectively ensure children have the highest quality education possible while protecting their health, their families’ health, and the health of our educators. I empathize with the fear and uncertainty that many are feeling; these are unsettling times. This is particularly true in New Orleans, a city with a majority of Black teachers and students in a nation where Black people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. It is clear that we cannot fully reopen schools in-person until public health information indicates it is safe.
As we navigate this challenging process, New Orleans is cautious, strategic, and prepared. Educators have been carefully planning for months, adjusting as they get new data, and the district has supported their efforts. They are as ready as possible to help children learn, whether in or outside of school buildings.