As of last week, all families with children in New Orleans’ public schools can choose to send their children back to campus for in-person learning. Students in prek-4 can learn in-person all days of the week, and older students have a “hybrid” model, with at least two days on campus.
As the pandemic continues, safety comes first for our district. New Orleans Public Schools was the first district in the state to announce a delayed in-person start to the year. Now, our public health experts, together with our district team and educators, have deemed it possible for schools to reopen again.
The district’s safety protocols for our schools are clear and outlined in NOLA-PS’s Roadmap to Reopening. They are more stringent than many nationwide. While only 52% of schools nationally report requiring a temperature check to enter, 100% of New Orleans schools are required to take this safety precaution.
Other precautions include:
Personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene: Everyone in a school building needs to wear a mask (except due to medical or behavioral issues, disabilities, or other safety issues). Children and staff members need to wash their hands frequently and their materials and rooms must be frequently cleaned. The district and schools have purchased sanitizing materials and PPE.
Avoiding large groupings: Students can be in groups of no more than 30 people.
Busses at lower capacity: To allow for social distancing, busses must operate at 75% capacity.
Tracking Infection Rates
Each Thursday, NOLA-PS updates our community on the latest data through their COVID Case Tracker.
The current infection rate for all New Orleans public schools, among all students and staff, reported on October 15 was 0.02%, totaling 12 cases for the prior two weeks. Jefferson Parish reported 37 cases on October 7th and St. Tammany Parish reported 72 cases since September 8th.
The national two-week school infection rate from the end of September, according to Brown University data, is .08%.
Now that all of our students have the option to return to school, we must remain vigilant. These are frightening, uncertain times, but public health experts are trained to make the types of hard decisions we’re currently faced with. They have deemed it safe for schools to reopen, and will continue to monitor infection rates and make decisions based on that.
Together, we will move forward with caution and care for one another. This is an undeniably challenging time, but we will focus on providing a great education for our children and maintaining a safe environment for all.