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Tracking COVID-19: NOLA Public Schools Report 12 New Cases, 137 In Quarantine

Aubri Juhasz
A temperature checkpoint at McDonogh 42 on the first day of in-person classes, Sept. 17, 2020.

New Orleans public schools reported 12 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the district’s apparent total to 55. The number of individuals in quarantine due to possible exposure dropped from 160 to 137.

Despite a steady stream of positive cases among students and staff, officials said Monday they’ve seen no evidence that COVID-19 is spreading in classrooms.

New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said that the spread is happening at small social gatherings, like sleepovers, birthday parties, and shared meals, as well as at sports practices.

Avegno commended educators for following disease control measures and said schools will likely remain open even if New Orleans experiences an increase in COVID-19 cases.

While early waves of the pandemic were largely fueled by outbreaks in congregant settings like nursing homes and at large events, experts say the country’s newest surge can be attributed to small social gatherings.

Since students started returning to classrooms in late September, the district has reported confirmed cases among students and staff on a weekly basis. Twelve new cases is a record for the district, though not by much. During the second week in October, the district reported 11 new cases, and the week after they reported 9.

The district is aware of 14 active cases of COVID-19 split evenly between students and staff. An active case is defined as one that is confirmed by a medical authority and within the two week isolation period. More than 27,000 students are currently learning in-person at least several days a week.

This week’s new cases were reported at Arthur Ashe Charter School, Harriet Tubman Charter School, Homer Plessy Community School, Hynes Elementary Lakeview, Hynes Elementary UNO, Kipp Morial, Landry High School, New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron Elementary, ReNEW Schaumburg Elementary, Samuel J. Green Charter School, and Village De I’Est.

Aubri Juhasz is the education reporter for New Orleans Public Radio. Before coming to New Orleans, she was a producer for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She helped lead the show's technology and book coverage and reported her own feature stories, including the surge in cycling deaths in New York City and the decision by some states to offer competitive video gaming to high school students as an extracurricular activity.

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