It’s been more than three months since Louisiana’s public schools closed as COVID-19 cases swept the nation. Now, as schools plan for the fall, protecting students and staff health is the top priority for teachers and parents in New Orleans, according to survey results released by the NOLA Public Schools district Friday afternoon.
When the survey closed earlier this month, nearly half of educators said they would not feel safe if they had to return to work now. Educators also said they want more support in distance learning and social and mental health resources for themselves and their students. Parents said they want flexibility when it comes to in-person versus online learning, and more than half of parents want remote learning to be an option next school year even if the city’s public school buildings reopen for in-person classes.
New Orleans schools committed to remote learning — either online or through paper packets — early on in the closure, which was initially planned to last one month but ended up going through the end of the school year.
Late last month, the district launched the survey in part to inform its Reopening Task Force, which is charged with creating a plan to safely reopen schools as the threat of COVID-19 lingers. In recent weeks, nearby states including Texas and Florida have seen a steep rise in cases. The task force has been meeting weekly but its meetings are not open to the public, something that’s been criticized.