COVID in New Orleans public schools: see cases, quarantines, positivity rate after Ida

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Of the more than 13,500 public school students and staff who participated in New Orleans’ new COVID-19 testing program last week, about 1% tested positive, the district said in its first Monday. updated data since Hurricane Ida made landfall on August 29.

New Orleans public schools are tracking a total of 34 active coronavirus cases, 7 staff and 27 students, across 19 schools. Another 33 people are in quarantine due to possible exposure.

Since the last district update his tracker As of Aug. 23, a cumulative 333 cases have been reported, according to the district.

Testing dropped dramatically statewide due to Ida, but started resuming last week. In New Orleans, the district launched its own surveillance testing program last week with the Louisiana Department of Health and over 90 participating schools.

Although testing is still voluntary in most schools, at least half a dozen campuses have asked students to get tested before returning to class.

Not all students have returned to in-person learning since Ida defeated the city and southeastern Louisiana. Twenty-nine campuses remained closed on Friday due to storm damage, although some have already resumed online classes rather than wasting extra days of teaching. The vast majority of schools are expected to resume classes in person or virtually no later than Wednesday, depending on the district.

“This is the best way to ensure that we keep the coronavirus out of our school community,” NOLA Public Schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said in a press release Monday. “We are fine, but we must continue to fight this pandemic with all the resources we have. “

The numbers represent a significant drop since the start of the school year, when a record number of cases and quarantines were reported, peaking at 453 and 4,657 respectively. But while data from last week could suggest the state’s unprecedented fourth wave is slowing, current school data from the district offers a limited picture.

The district has more test data than ever before, but this week’s numbers are also likely incomplete. The press release itself notes that “there may be a lag in notification due to the delay in which families notify their schools of test results among students.”

Cases from the past week may also be underreported at this point due to communication delays between individual schools and the district. Steve Corbett, CEO of Audubon Charter School, told New Orleans Public Radio last week that mandatory testing at its three campuses had identified several positive cases of COVID, but from Monday’s report, they were not included in the district tracker.

Corbett said he wasn’t sure exactly where the disconnection came from, but it could be a problem on their end, as charter nurses only returned to campus on Monday. The district had not responded to a request for comment on this particular example in time for this story to be published.

This is the first time the district has recorded a positivity rate since the start of the pandemic, although it only represents a limited subset of the student and teacher population. The vast majority of students were not included in last week’s testing efforts due to school closures and other accessibility issues, as well as the voluntary nature of many school-based testing programs. .

Not all students have returned to in-person learning since Ida defeated the city and southeastern Louisiana. Twenty-nine campuses remained closed on Friday due to storm damage, although some have already resumed online classes rather than wasting extra days of teaching. The vast majority of schools are expected to resume classes in person or virtually no later than Wednesday, depending on the district.


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