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(New Orleans - January 4, 2021) -- Due to a very concerning spike in the prevalence of COVID-19 in New Orleans, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) will return to distance learning District-wide to best protect the health and safety of our students, their families, and our staff and teachers.

School leaders were instructed Monday to move all Pre-K-12 classes to distance learning no later than Thursday, Jan. 7, to give parents, guardians, and families some time to adjust their schedules. NOLA-PS will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and trends and reevaluate this decision no sooner than Jan. 21, in hopes that the local trend in positivity rates and case counts improves.

The City’s data tracking the pandemic showed a significant jump in the rate of positive cases over the past few days, indicating a worsening trend -- one of several metrics NOLA-PS considered in order to make this grave but necessary decision.

As with every decision NOLA-PS has made since the start of the pandemic, this latest decision was driven by data and the advice of our public health experts.

“All along, we have taken a very measured approach as we respond to the shifting circumstances of this pandemic,” NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. said. “Citywide data over the past few days has shown a dramatic uptick in positivity rates, and so, based upon the advice of our health advisors, we felt we had to make the very unfortunate but necessary decision to return to distance learning to keep our students, staff, teachers and community safe. We recognize this will be extremely difficult for our families and hope that everyone takes the necessary precautions to reverse the spread of this terrible virus. I want all of us across NOLA Public Schools to stay close and be in constant communication as we tackle this next challenge. We’re one team, and we’ll get through this together.”

We encourage parents and families to contact their schools regarding their campus-specific, distance-learning transition plans. Likewise, NOLA-PS has compiled several online resources for parents to access during distance learning at https://nolapublicschools.com/covid19/parentresources.

While distance learning will resume, schools will continue to offer critical services and support to families as needed, such as school meals. NOLA Public Schools will continue to provide a list of all schools providing community feeding to any student on our website. Families can access this information here. Schools also will be permitted to accommodate instruction for special populations under reduced class sizes, or provide in-person instruction for younger students, Pre-K-5, in smaller groups of no more than 15. Families should contact their schools for site-specific information.

During transition from in-person to distance learning, NOLA-PS has instructed schools to continue enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols – checking temperatures, using hand sanitizer, wearing masks, practicing social distancing – on their grounds.

In-person learning is the ideal education environment for students because it addresses the whole child, academically, socially, and emotionally. Our goal is to safely reopen schools when the COVID-19 trends we’re tracking improve. But for the immediate future, distance learning will be in place out of an abundance of caution.

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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.

What:
Ahead of the holidays, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) remains committed to the health and safety of our school community, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure the District and our schools are supported through the duration of the pandemic.

It's important to note NOLA-PS follows the same COVID-19 related metrics* as the City of New Orleans, as well as information specific to its schools, to make data-driven decisions about its operations.

NOLA-PS continues to monitor key COVID-19 metrics in collaboration with our City Health Department and NOLA-PS Medical Advisors, and we will continue to monitor these data for trends over the coming weeks.

With schools closed for the winter break holiday, NOLA-PS will suspend its weekly updates to the COVID-19 Tracker. The updates will resume on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 after the start of the next semester.

NOLA-PS will be in close contact with the Louisiana Department of Health and our health advisers during the break as we continue to track the COVID-19 pandemic in New Orleans.


When:
After the winter break holiday, weekly updates will resume each Monday afternoon starting on Jan. 11, 2021 and will be released at 4:00PM.



Where:
Visit our COVID Case Tracker dashboard to see the latest data that shows the impact of COVID-19 on our school community.


Update:
As of noon on Thursday, December 17, the District is tracking a total of 76 active cases of COVID-19 (22 staff; 54 students) among 39 schools in our school community. Of the 76 cases, 46 were newly confirmed since our last report on Dec. 10, 2020.

The District’s COVID Case Tracker reports active cases over an approximately two-week period. For the purposes of our dashboard, an active case is defined as a COVID-19 case that is confirmed and within their isolation period.

All schools are required to report positive cases to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and the District. The District is continuing to stay on top of updates, collaborate with state and local agencies, and work closely with our school leaders, task force, and community stakeholders to ensure a safe 2020-2021 school year.

The data included in our COVID-19 Tracker reflects self-reported cases from our schools and provides the real-time impact of the pandemic in our school community. The goal is to provide teachers, staff, students and parents with information that can help inform decisions they make for themselves and the NOLA-PS family.

*The citywide metrics tracked include:

● New cases per day above 50 (7-day average)
    ○ An increase over the 7-day average would need to be part of a trend of results of “community spread” to influence decision-making, not an identified or contained outbreak.)
    ○ New case demographics may influence more specific alterations to our current school model.
● Positive test rate above 5% (higher test rate would need to be part of a trend)
● Loss of testing capacity for symptomatic individuals with responsible turnaround times

Prior to reverting to full-time distance learning, the District has options it can exercise to help mitigate the number of cases within our school community. They include: restricting extracurricular activities, reducing the number of grades served with in-person learning, and reducing classroom size, transportation capacity, and group maximums.


Why:
NOLA-PS will continue to prioritize in-person learning, in coordination with our local and
state medical experts, as it offers a myriad of advantages, according to the CDC:
● Provide safe, supportive learning environments for students.
● Provide critical services that help meet the needs of children and families, especially those who are disadvantaged, through supporting the development of social and emotional skills, creating a safe environment for learning, identifying and addressing neglect and abuse, fulfilling nutritional needs, and facilitating physical activity.
● Reopening schools creates an opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and the future of one of America’s greatest assets—our children—while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families.

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Releases Special Education Resource Guide for Parents, listing more than 20 areas of assistance and 150+ vendors

(New Orleans - December 2, 2020) – In observance of National Special Education Day, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) is proud to unveil a new comprehensive Special Education Resource Guide. The guide is a way to rapidly connect people in new ways to create real and impactful change in the lives of special needs students and their families.

“The guide was created to reduce and/or eliminate barriers for locating special education resources for caregivers. It’s available, in print and online, and it seeks to help families find assistance immediately,” said NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “With better information, not only can individuals and families use program resources more efficiently, but they can also be matched more effectively to their individual needs.”

After receiving input from NOLA-PS’ Special Education Advisory Council, the Enrollment Team, schools, parents, and other partners, the Exceptional Children’s Services Department (ECS) has been working tirelessly to compose a thorough set of resources, with embedded accessibility features, for diverse learners across the city of New Orleans. The Special Education Resource Guide is a living document that contains more than 20 areas of assistance, boasting more than 150 organization and providers.

The vision of NOLA Public Schools notes, “All students receive a high-quality education that fosters their individual capabilities, while ensuring that they thrive and are prepared for civic, social, and economic success.” With the unveiling of this new guide, NOLA-PS is proudly providing another resource that will ensure the execution of the District’s vision statement.

Printed copies of the guide can be picked-up at the following locations:

NOLA-PS Exceptional Children’s Services Departments / Family Resource Centers:     

  • Westbank - Timbers/OPSB Central Office - 2401 Westbend Parkway, Suite 1101, New Orleans, LA 70114
  • Uptown - Mahalia Jackson - 2405 Jackson Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70113

NOLA-PS Family Resource Center:
  • New Orleans East – IDEA Oscar Dunn – 12000 Hayne Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70128


About National Special Education Day
On December 2nd, National Special Education Day commemorates the anniversary of the nation’s first federal special education law. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on December 2, 1972.

IDEA made education available to all American children and this day honors the progress that has been made in special education. Before IDEA, many individuals with disabilities received little to no education. Schools were not required to make accommodations for children with disabilities. While some states offered special schools, the education and resources were not necessarily equal. Additionally, many parents couldn’t afford to send their children away to a special school.

The law stipulated that children with disabilities had a right to the same free education that every other child had access to. Between the ages of 3 and 21, there are 13 different areas where children may qualify under the IDEA for services. IDEA was instrumental in increasing graduation rates for students with disabilities.

IDEA resulted in many changes beyond bringing students equal education. The integration of students also helps to remove the stigma of disabilities. Another result of IDEA was the stimulation of technology for students with disabilities and for the classrooms. These technologies improved the education of all students.

###


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 www.nolapublicschools.com. For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools.

What:
NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) remains committed to the health and safety of our school community, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure the District and our schools are supported through the duration of the pandemic.

It's important to note NOLA-PS follows the same COVID-19 related metrics* as the City of New Orleans, as well as information specific to its schools, to make data-driven decisions about its operations.

NOLA-PS continues to monitor key COVID-19 metrics in collaboration with our City Health Department and NOLA-PS Medical Advisors, and we will continue to monitor these data for trends over the coming weeks.

NOLA-PS also will continue to provide ongoing weekly updates on any changes related to COVID-19.


When:
Thursdays • 4 PM


Where:
Visit our COVID Case Tracker dashboard to see the latest data that shows the impact of COVID-19 on our school community.


Update:
As of noon on Thursday, December 10, the District is tracking a total of 80 active cases of COVID-19 (26 staff; 54 students) among 46 schools in our school community. Of the 80 cases, 60 were newly confirmed since our last report on December 3, 2020.

The District’s COVID Case Tracker reports active cases over an approximately two-week period. For the purposes of our dashboard, an active case is defined as a COVID-19 case that is confirmed and within their isolation period.

All schools are required to report positive cases to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and the District. The District is continuing to stay on top of updates, collaborate with state and local agencies, and work closely with our school leaders, task force, and community stakeholders to ensure a safe 2020-2021 school year.

The data included in our COVID-19 Tracker reflects self-reported cases from our schools and provides the real-time impact of the pandemic in our school community. The goal is to provide teachers, staff, students and parents with information that can help inform decisions they make for themselves and the NOLA-PS family.

*The citywide metrics tracked include:

● New cases per day above 50 (7-day average) 
      ○  An increase over the 7-day average would need to be part of a trend of results of “community spread” to influence decision-making, not an identified or contained outbreak.)
      ○  New case demographics may influence more specific alterations to our current school model.
● Positive test rate above 5% (higher test rate would need to be part of a trend)
● Loss of testing capacity for symptomatic individuals with responsible turnaround times

Prior to reverting to full-time distance learning, the District has options it can exercise to help mitigate the number of cases within our school community. They include: restricting extracurricular activities, reducing the number of grades served with in-person learning, and reducing classroom size, transportation capacity, and group maximums.


Why:
NOLA-PS will continue to prioritize in-person learning, in coordination with our local and state medical experts, as it offers a myriad of advantages, according to the CDC:

● Provide safe, supportive learning environments for students.
● Provide critical services that help meet the needs of children and families, especially those who are disadvantaged, through supporting the development of social and emotional skills, creating a safe environment for learning, identifying and addressing neglect and abuse, fulfilling nutritional needs, and facilitating physical activity.
● Reopening schools creates an opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and the future of one of America’s greatest assets—our children—while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families.

###
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 76 public schools.



(New Orleans – November 19, 2020) – Ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) is encouraging New Orleanians to continue to adhere to safety measures that slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our school communities safe.

“Now is not the time to let our guard down. We have made a tremendous effort across New Orleans to stay safe, and that is why our schools are open while many cities are closing their schools,” said NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “Let’s keep it up. Please limit your amount of contact with people outside of your immediate family during the holidays. Mask up. Stay socially distanced. Wash your hands. We can do this, together.”

Dr. Lewis, NOLA-PS Chief Operating Officer Tiffany Delcour, NOLA-PS medical adviser Dr. Ben Springgate, and Greater New Orleans Foundation CEO & President Andy Kopplin spoke to the media Thursday, Nov. 19, to inform the public about the latest COVID-19 tracking data and the status of in-person learning in NOLA-PS schools.

NOLA-PS follows the same metrics as the City of New Orleans, as well as information specific to its schools, to make data-driven decisions about its operations.

While city data show a rise in the average daily new cases, other metrics are staying strong. As a city we are below the 5-percent positivity rate and our community has robust access to COVID-19 testing. These factors and information delivered from our schools show there isn’t a need for a system-wide closure at this time.

The citywide metrics tracked include:

New cases per day above 50 (7-day average)
         o An increase over the 7-day average would need to be part of a trend of results of “community spread” to influence decision-making, not an identified or contained outbreak.)
         o New case demographics may influence more specific alterations to our current school model.
Positive test rate above 5% (higher test rate would need to be part of a trend)
Loss of testing capacity for symptomatic individuals with responsible turnaround times

Additionally, schools self-report confirmed COVID-19 cases and close contacts to NOLA-PS every week. NOLA-PS reports these data to the public on its COVID-19 Case Tracker dashboard.

Prior to reverting to full-time distance learning, the District has options it can exercise to help mitigate the number of cases within our school community. They include: restricting extracurricular activities, reducing the number of grades served with in-person learning, and reducing classroom size, transportation capacity, and group maximums.

As we work to ensure our NOLA-PS family remains healthy and safe through the duration of the pandemic, the District is continuing to provide comprehensive frontline access to COVID-19 testing options for our students and educators, in partnership with our local hospitals.

Recently, the District was awarded a total of $775,000 in grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Greater New Orleans Foundation for testing. Ultimately, the funding will be dedicated to building a plan to expand upon our existing work of providing responsive and routine testing options in order to make them readily accessible to our school community. The funding could go towards tests and nursing teams to carryout routine screenings, surveillance, and/or more responsive units.


COVID-19 Cases

As of noon on Thursday, November 19, the District is tracking a total of 54 active cases of COVID-19 (30 staff; 24 students) among our school community. Of the 54 cases, 45 were newly confirmed within the past seven days.

The District’s COVID-19 Case Tracker reports active cases over an approximately two-week period. For the purposes of our dashboard, an active case is defined as a COVID-19 case that is confirmed and within their isolation period.

All schools are required to report positive cases to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and the District. The District is continuing to stay on top of updates, collaborate with state and local agencies, and work closely with our school leaders, task force, and community stakeholders to ensure a safe 2020-2021 school year.

The data included in our COVID-19 Tracker reflects self-reported cases from our schools and provides the real-time impact of the pandemic in our school community. The goal is to provide teachers, staff, students and parents with information that can help inform decisions they make for themselves and the NOLA-PS family.

###

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 76 public schools.

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

Contact

Report Fraud

Department of Children and Family Services

Call 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) to report child abuse and neglect.

Report Abuse

Hotline Number for Parents
504-527-KIDS

School-based issues or concerns from parents

24-hour Hotline Number for Community
504-522-HELP

School and District based concerns, feedback, & inquiries from school staff or community members

External Resources

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

2401 Westbend Parkway
New Orleans, Louisiana 70114

Phone: 504-304-3520

Hotline Number for Parents
504-527-KIDS

School-based issues or concerns from parents

24-hour Hotline Number for Community
504-522-HELP
District based community concerns, feedback, & inquiries from school staff or community members