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NEW ORLEANS – (March 19, 2020) - Per the proclamation issued by Governor John Bel Edwards all NOLA public schools have been ordered to close and will not resume in-class operations until April 13th. This necessary action is an effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our city and state.  The District will continue to update the public with developments as they become available. Please note what is new and what has previously been shared below.

WHAT’S NEW:

CHILD NUTRITION HEALTH SCREENING PROTOCOLS:
Since Monday, March 16, approximately 42,000 meals and counting have been served to students in Orleans Parish, with nearly 19,800 being served today.

It has been reported that a school official in St. Charles Parish has started exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and as a result they have canceled meal services. As a precaution, the District has reissued reminders to all officials at school child nutrition sites to follow the health screening protocols provided by the District for feeding sites. Screening methods include, but are not limited to, daily temperature checks of staff before meals are prepared. Those guidelines apply to all sites operating in the Citywide Coordinated Feeding Effort. NOLA-PS in coordination with the New Orleans Health Department will make decisions regarding the operation of individual Community Feeding sites as a result of this screening method.

WIFI ACCESS SECURED FOR STUDENTS IN NEED:
On Wednesday, March 18, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) announced it has been collecting data from school leaders to assess Wi-Fi access needs among students and as a result has secured 5,000 hotspots to support gaps in Wi-Fi access for public school students most in need. NOLA-PS is utilizing $1,200,000 of the emergency funding approved by the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) on Friday, March 13 to purchase the hotspots. NOLA-PS will be finalizing a plan for distribution in coordination with schools based upon need at the school and student level. In coordination with schools, assessments of additional resources that may be needed to support students and families will continue which includes exploring discounted bulk purchases of laptops or tablets for students in need in New Orleans
All families are also encouraged to review and consider Cox’s low-cost internet offers for families, through their Connect2Compete program.

PLEASE REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING:

CONTINUOUS LEARNING:
Currently, NOLA-PS is executing the following to support students’ ongoing learning:

  • Establishing an online tool box for charter schools to access that includes resources for schools to download to support student learning. The toolbox has been shared with early childhood providers, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and private schools as well.
  • Providing a list of free online resources available to schools and students.
  • Consulting with each charter school organization on their current distance learning plans and resources needs in order to fill immediate gaps and identify emerging resource needs.
Providing resources and support for schools in planning for special education and high school seniors.  
Collecting and sharing resources with schools citywide on how to support the mental health needs of students during this crisis.  
 Having dedicated staff on-call to help schools as they implement their distance learning plans.  

CHILD NUTRITION MEALS NOW AVAILABLE CITYWIDE:
On Wednesday, March 18, NOLA-PS, in collaboration with many charter school leaders, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD), local non-profit organizations, faith-based partners and private businesses, launched a full-scale Citywide Feeding Program. This program consists of 44 Community Feeding Distribution sites across New Orleans that ensure families can easily access breakfast and lunch during this prolonged school closure. The 44 sites consist of schools, NORD facilities and local business locations.

Citywide Feeding Program Details:
  • Students over 18 that are enrolled in public K-12 schools, including students with disabilities through age 22, are also eligible for free meals at open sites.
  • Students do not need to be present to receive meals. Parents or caregivers may pick up meals on behalf of the students within their household.
  • Child nutrition resources are available to those under 18 years of age and those who currently attend a public school.
  • Students who are over 18 years of age and are currently enrolled in public schools will also be allowed to access the community feeding programming. Schools will be contacting those families directly to ensure they are aware of the services available to them.

Families wishing to access information on child nutrition resources should visit the District’s webpage at https://nolapublicschools.com/covid19/nutrition. This webpage has the most up-to-date listing of where food services are available.

STATE TESTING:
On Tuesday, March 17, BESE submitted a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards moving to cancel LEAP testing, school performance scores and requirements for end-of-course testing, a move many other states have made. At this time the district and our schools are focused on caring for our community by ensuring continuity of learning, and availability of child nutrition programs.  The decision to cancel testing reflects long-standing BESE policy related to extended school closures. NOLA-PS will be assessing how these various waivers and potential actions will impact the 2019-202 school year and beyond as more information comes available over the coming months. Click here to see the full brief from BESE.

ONEAPP:
Even with districtwide school closures, NOLA-PS still anticipates releasing the results of the first round of OneApp later this month. Families can continue to submit Early Childhood applications until Friday, March 27, though you will not be able to complete the document verification process. Additional information will be shared with families who submit an application by that deadline about how to provide necessary documents for these programs. Families should complete the online portion of the application by the Friday, March 27 deadline. If you need help with the application or have any questions please email: oneapp@nolapublicschools.comand visit: www.enrollnola.org. 

STAYING HEALTHY:
NOLA-PS continues to encourage our schools, students, and families to follow everyday practices to remain healthy and monitor their health in accordance with CDC recommendations. The District encourages our community of schools to follow local and state guidelines adhering to social distancing recommendations in an effort to keep our students, families, and educators healthy.

Additionally, NOLA-PS encourages all to remain connected and mindful of updates being disseminated by the District in order to stay informed of how COVID-19 is impacting our school community. For regular District updates, please visit our Coronavirus webpage.

For more information on the virus, visit  http://ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus.

For information on what to do if you are sick, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf.

If you have questions about Coronavirus, please contact the Coronavirus general information line at 1-855-523-2652 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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ABOUT NOLA PUBLIC SCHOOLS: NOLA Public Schools is the public school district for Orleans Parish, which includes the district’s elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board and the district’s administration led by NOLA Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 78 public schools. For more information, visit www.nolapublicschools.com. For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools.



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External Resources

NOLA Public Schools. Every Child. Every School. Every Day.

2401 Westbend Parkway
New Orleans, Louisiana 70114

Phone: 504-304-3520
Email: Communications@opsb.us

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