New Orleans public schools reported nine new cases of COVID-19 among students and staff Friday. More than 160 people are currently in quarantine due to possible exposure to the virus, according to the district’s tracker.
Overall, the district is tracking 18 active cases of COVID-19, seven among staff and 11 among students.
New cases were reported at Andrew Wilson Charter School, Fannie C. Williams Charter School, Edward Hynes Charter School’s Lakeview campus, Lafayette Academy Middle School, L.B. Landry College and Career Preparatory High School, Morris Jeff Community School, and Lusher Charter School’s high school campus.
The district started making limited data available the first full week in October. At the time, it was tracking 12 active cases of COVID-19. The tracker is not cumulative and only displays “active” cases — positive cases that are within the two-week isolation period.
Since then, it has reported new cases weekly. Two weeks ago, the district announced four new cases, followed by 11 cases the following week.
Reported cases have remained low even as the district has returned more and more students to the classroom since late September. At the same time, some have expressed concern that the data provided by the district is not transparent enough.
The district’s ability to control coronavirus spread is contingent upon testing. In recent weeks, it’s announced free testing sites for all students and staff in addition to the rapid testing it already provides for symptomatic individuals.
“As we forge ahead into this school year, expanded COVID-19 testing remains a key part of our reopening — and remaining open — strategy,” Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. wrote in the district’s newsletter Friday.
Lewis wrote that mobile testing has been set up at certain schools to allow symptomatic students to get tested onsite. He also hinted at the district’s next steps, writing that the district is “working on new partnerships and programs to track and contain COVID-19 in our school community.”
“Meanwhile, we must keep up our vigilance, especially as we enter the holiday season,” Lewis wrote. “Getting tested has never been more important — just because you don’t feel sick, doesn’t mean you’re not sick. I strongly urge every member of our school community to help keep your friends, family, and neighbors safe by getting tested.”
The district normally releases coronavirus data on Thursdays but bumped the data release a day after Hurricane Zeta sped through New Orleans Wednesday night, shearing branches from trees and damaging power lines.
Schools have been closed since Wednesday and next week’s operations have not yet been announced. The district is currently assessing how many schools are without power and whether any suffered structural damage from the storm. Families can expect an update from the district on Sunday.