In what NOLA Public Schools in a press release called a “first step,” the district held a conference call to discuss preventing the spread and managing a possible outbreak of COVID-19 with school leaders Tuesday afternoon.
A decision to close schools would happen under the recommendation of local and federal health agencies, according to the press release.
District leadership also used the call to urge school leaders to increase cleaning efforts and review and share best practices for limiting the spread of viruses, and to ask that they consider limiting unnecessary travel, especially international travel.
As a cautionary measure, new students who came from a country on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s risk assed list will have to wait for the coronavirus’s 14-day incubation period to expire before enrolling.
While the district is providing coronavirus updates on its website, the press release asks that questions be directed to the CDC or the Louisiana Department of Health.
A small number of U.S. schools across the U.S. have closed in light of coronavirus cases, and some have even closed despite having no cases.
The CDC's detailed guidance on this issue says this isn't necessary, and that even schools with confirmed cases should talk to local health officials before deciding to shut down.
In 2009, during the H1N1 or "swine flu" outbreak, President Barack Obama said schools with confirmed cases should strongly consider closing. A private elemantary school in Lafayette did just that after five students tested positive for Type A influenza.