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NOLA-PS Updated School Community on COVID-19 Guidance for the New School Year

(New Orleans – August 5, 2021) – With this week marking the start of the new school year, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. stressed the importance of preserving in-person learning and protecting the health and safety of our students, amidst the pandemic.

"To forgo the opportunity for in-person learning could have long-term impacts on their education that we do not have the luxury to even consider," said Dr. Lewis. "Let's work together to do whatever it takes to keep students and educators safe, healthy, and in the classroom."

Since the beginning of this pandemic, NOLA-PS has engaged city and local health medical experts to help guide decisions in keeping our community of schools safe. It's important to note the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, the Louisiana Department of Health, and the New Orleans Health department have analyzed the data and all agree the best place for children to be is in the classroom. The benefits include developing social and emotional skills, access to healthy meals and activities, and access to mental health support that cannot be offered through virtual learning.

The recent LEAP 2025 results also underscore the importance of NOLA-PS' decision to implement and maintain in-person learning for the upcoming school year. The test scores highlighted learning loss and how many of our students facing economic inequities and racial disparities have seen their challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.

"Our schools will use the scores to establish new baselines for individual students to map a path to success in their educations. We will not lose a generation of learning to this pandemic," said Dr. Lewis.

In keeping in-person learning a top priority, multiple mitigation efforts have been recommended by public health authorities to keep students in school, which ultimately helps them grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

"Vaccinations, first and foremost; social distancing; wearing masks. Not congregating indoors; unnecessarily large groups; maximizing ventilation; identifying sick people and have them quarantine, these types of things, make a tremendous difference when layered on top of one another in reducing the risk of transmission," said NOLA-PS medical advisor Dr. Benjamin F. Springgate. "It's critically important for us to recognize these things work, if we put them into place and we follow them."

The COVID-19 vaccine and routine testing remain key in protecting students and educators, during the 2021-2022 school year. Recently, our high schools announced they will require vaccinations or weekly testing for students who want to participate in extracurricular activities.

At the District level, NOLA-PS will track the vaccination rate among our community of schools to help identify barriers to getting the vaccine and help schools, students, and families work through them.

"We will also be providing mobile vaccination sites for all members of our school community to take advantage of. The same goes for access to testing," said NOLA-PS Chief Operations Officer Tiffany Delcour. "We will also continue to track the pandemic through our COVID-19 case tracker, which will be publicly available on Monday, August 9 and every Monday for the remainder of the school year."

Superintendent Lewis also took the time to thank teachers for their herculean efforts during the pandemic.

"I could not be prouder of how our educators have responded, and I want everyone to know they have my full support," said Dr. Lewis. "If it wasn't for them, our students would not be positioned, as they are, to recover academically from the impact of this pandemic. Please help thank our teachers for their dedication to our children and keeping their best interests at heart."


About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 76 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.

For more information, visit For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools. 

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