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Nearly Half Of All New Orleans Public School Charters To Mandate COVID Vaccine For Staff

L.B. Landry High School
Aubri Juhasz
L.B. Landry High School in Algiers is one of 15 New Orleans Public School charter operators to require staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

As New Orleans Public Schools moves to require the COVID-19 vaccine for its central office staff, many of its charter operators are following suit.

Fifteen of the district’s 36 operators announced Wednesday that they will require, or already require, their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a press release from the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS).

The operators requiring employees to get vaccinated represent about 50 percent of public school students in New Orleans, according to LAPCS.

Staff will be required to provide proof of completed vaccination, though the deadline to get the jab varies by operator. If an employee is eligible for an exemption under state law, they will be required to get tested weekly.

“By requiring adults on campus to vaccinate, we can protect our students and families,” the statement said. “It is critical to have kids in schools and teachers in classrooms to support students academically and emotionally from learning lost amid the pandemic.”

Schools requiring staff to get vaccinated against COVID include:

  • Algiers Charter Association 
  • Audubon Charter School
  • Bricolage Academy 
  • Crescent City Schools 
  • Collegiate Academies
  • Dolores Arthur Taylor School for Young Men 
  • Einstein Schools 
  • InspireNOLA Charter Schools 
  • James M. Singleton Charter School 
  • KIPP New Orleans Schools
  • Lusher Charter School 
  • New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School (Sci High)
  • Noble Minds Institute for Whole Child Learning
  • Robert Russa Moton Charter School
  • Sophie B. Wright High School 

Algiers Charter Schools Association, which operates two schools on the city’s West Bank, said that staff will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1.

“We know the best place for our students, in terms of academic and social-emotional learning, is in the classroom,” said Talé Lockett, the operator’s CEO, in the press release. “We will do what it takes to preserve in-person learning.”

Staff that comply with the mandate by Sept. 1 will be rewarded with additional leave time, according to a press release.

The charter will pay non-exempt staff for the time it takes them to receive the vaccine, according to the release. Vaccinations will be provided through a partnership with St. Thomas Community Health Centers.

The Orleans Parish School Board is expected to approve a vaccine mandate for its 200 central office employees at Thursday’s board meeting. Hiring is decentralized in New Orleans Public Schools because the system consists solely of charter schools. As a result, it’s up to individual operators to decide whether to require their employees to get the vaccine.

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

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