New Orleans Public Schools reported its lowest number of active COVID-19 cases since early November, according to data released Monday afternoon.
The district is tracking 12 active cases — eight students and four staff members — across 11 different schools. Lusher Charter School was the only campus to report more than a single case. Two staff members tested positive at the school’s middle and high school campus. There were no associated quarantines.
In early November, active COVID-19 cases associated with the public school system jumped from 14 to 54 in one week. The following month, the weekly number hovered near 80 before reaching a new high on Jan. 11, when the district reported 93 active cases.
District-wide, 206 people are currently quarantining due to possible COVID-19 exposure. ReNEW SciTech reported the highest number of quarantines with 78, followed by Morris Jeff Community School with 26, and KIPP Central City Primary with 25.
Since schools reopened in September, associated cases have reflected the city’s larger trends.
In early January, New Orleans Public Schools responded to a city-wide surge by instructing schools to privot most classrooms to online-only instruction. During this period, the city instituted stricter restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. Bars lost their ability to serve patrons inside and closed completely during the peak of Mardi Gras season.
Last week, the city’s positivity rate was 2.1 percent, down from nearly 10 percent in early January.
Most schools were closed last week for Mardi Gras break. The district did not share case counts last week, but as of Feb. 8, the district was tracking 30 active cases and 221 people were in quarantine.
Since students returned to the classroom in September, 613 COVID-19 cases have been reported among the district’s students and staff. Seventy-eight cases were reported on or after Feb. 1.
As of this week, all New Orleans public school students have the option to receive in-person instruction. After a system-wide pivot to virtual instruction in January, schools welcomed younger students back in early February and high school students on Monday.
Monday also marked the start of vaccine eligibility for Louisiana’s teachers. Employees at K-12 schools and childcare facilities can now access their first dose of the vaccine. New Orleans Public Schools plans to begin facilitating vaccines for its staff as early as Tuesday.
According to early surveys, 63 percent of New Orleans public school employees plan to receive the vaccine as early as possible.