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NOLA-PS to Implement Mask Requirement, Following Health Officials’ Guidance

The requirement will start Friday, July 23. This will not affect the start of the new school year.

(New Orleans – Jul 21, 2021) — Today, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and city health officials issued an indoor mask advisory in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases, due to the Delta variant. As a result, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) will require masks be worn inside all school buildings, regardless of an individual's vaccination status, starting Friday, July 23.

This requirement is designed to protect our youngest students who are the most vulnerable and not yet able to get the vaccine. The indoor mask requirement will stay in place until the city’s health data improves and after further consultation with our local health care leaders and NOLA-PS Medical Advisors.

The full return to in-person learning for our students will remain in effect. As stated by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, in-person learning is necessary to provide the best quality education to students, and we will strive to preserve it throughout the 2021-2022 school year with heightened safety and health protocols as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We trust the recommendations of our health officials, and this requirement will not affect the start of in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. We are looking forward to a great school year where our children will, once again, be able to learn alongside their teachers and peers,” said Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “Ultimately, we are in this together and we believe by working together - we are stronger together.”

NOLA-PS continues to encourage all eligible students 12 years and older and all school-based staff to continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of the school year. Federal, state, and local health officials have consistently expressed that vaccination is the best protection against this virus and the best strategy to end this pandemic.

The health of NOLA Public Schools’ students, teachers, and staff remains our top priority, and the indoor mask requirement will help protect our school community. According to the New Orleans City Health Department, the number of new cases of COVID-19 is 9 times higher than it was 2 weeks ago, and all other data trends have increased on a similar trajectory.

“We need to lower these numbers,” said NOLA-PS Medical Advisor Dr. Ryan H. Pasternak. “After a year of monitoring data, we know the virus does not typically spread inside our schools when masked during educational activities. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, and following recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to mitigate the spread of the Delta variant, we are requiring everyone inside of a school facility to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.”

The NOLA-PS COVID-19 Guidance will be updated online by Friday, July 23. All other guidelines found there remain in place.

The guidance outlines our plans to continue to protect our students, teachers, and staff from COVID-19 and its variants. As the pandemic continues to evolve, NOLA Public Schools will continue to coordinate with our local health care and government leaders to monitor and track our city’s COVID-19 data to ensure we make the most informed decisions for the wellbeing of our students and school staff.


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