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Tracking COVID-19: NOLA Public Schools Report Six New Cases, 160 In Quarantine

Aubri Juhasz
Elizabeth Riley drops her grandsons five-year-old LC Riley and eight-year-old De-Quine Broussard off for their first day of in-person classes at McDonogh 42, Sept. 17, 2020.

New Orleans public schools reported six new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the district’s apparent total to 43.

More than 27,000 of the district’s roughly 45,000 students are currently learning in-person at least part-time.

New cases have trended downward since Oct. 22, though this week's data may have been impacted by Hurricane Zeta. Schools closed for a week and testing was suspended throughout the city.

As of Thursday, the district was aware of 10 active cases of COVID-19 among six students and four staff members. The district’s tracker only displays active cases, defined as “a COVID-19 case that is confirmed and within their isolation period.”

New cases were reported at Benjamin Franklin Charter School, Lusher Charter School, and ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron Academy.

The largest number of students and staff in quarantine was reported at Lusher’s high school, where two students have tested positive for the virus, and 86 individuals are isolating due to possible exposure.

The first wave of students, PreK through fourth grade, returned to the classroom full-time in late September. The second wave, fifth grade and up, began returning part-time in mid-October.

Forty percent of students have opted to remain entirely online until at least the end of the current quarter.

The table below displays a running total of cases in NOLA public schools over the last seven weeks.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise across the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The surge is partially driven by a new wave of infections in the Midwest and Northeast, though COVID-19 cases are on the rise in 79 percent of U.S. jurisdiction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Transmission.

Gov. John Bel Edwards extended the state’s Phase 3 restrictions Thursday until at least Dec. 4. Test positivity has increased in northern Louisiana and hospitalizations are up across the state.

New Orleans’ COVID-19 restrictions are more restrictive than the state. The city is currently in Phase 3.2 of reopening and will consider moving to Phase 3.3 next week once it completes the necessary data analysis.

More than 2,100 students and 990 teachers have tested positive for COVID-19 statewide, according to the Louisiana Department of Health’s tracking system.

Cases are self-reported by K-12 schools that have enrolled in the tracking system. Nearly 1,500 schools were enrolled as of Nov. 1.

The highest number of cases have been reported in Bossier Parish public schools: nearly 80 staff members and 200 students. The system enrolls 22,750 students and employs about 1,400 teachers.

Public and private schools in Jefferson Parish have reported 109 cases among students and 37 among staff. Jefferson Parish has the largest public school system in the state with 80 schools and about 50,000 students.

Orleans Parish has reported 69 cases among students and 31 among staff. More than 100 schools are registered with the state’s reporting system: 77 public charter schools and 40 private schools.

Aubri Juhasz covers K-12 education, focusing on charter schools, education funding, and other statewide issues. She also helps edit the station’s news coverage.

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