NOLA Public Schools Releases COVID-19 Updates
NEW ORLEANS – From New Orleans Public Schools:
Per the proclamation issued by Governor John Bel Edwards all NOLA public schools are currently closed and will not resume in-class operations until April 13. This necessary action is an effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our city and state. The District will continue to update the public with developments as they become available. Please note what is new and what has previously been shared below.
NOLA-PS PROCURES 10,000 CHROMEBOOK LAPTOPS:
NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) is problem-solving at the district level to help address gaps in internet access and connectivity across our community of schools. To that effect, NOLA-PS is happy to announce that it has procured 10,000 Chromebook laptops in an effort to improve distanced learning for NOLA Public School students. NOLA-PS is working in close coordination with schools to address the need for each student population and prepare the Chromebooks to adhere to each organization’s platform. The District is working quickly to have these much-needed resources received, programmed and distributed in a timely manner so that continuous learning can remain equitable for NOLA Public School students.
“The school board has worked quickly and efficiently to do as much as possible for our families during this fluid and trying time,” said Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) President Ethan Ashley. “We are thrilled that we were able to obtain these supplies for our students to assist with distance learning, especially with the current high demand for electronic resources nationwide.”
In coordination with school leaders, assessments for additional resources that may be needed to support students and families will continue. This includes the purchase of 5,000 Wi-Fi hotspots which, in conjunction with the Chromebooks, will help fill the gaps for those schools that do not have enough laptops and for families who may not have reliable internet access at home.
“Our students are experiencing learning in a way that is new and challenging,” said NOLA Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “It is imperative that we stem the loss of learning during this trying time. It is our job to help our students make this transition to learning at home as smooth as possible and ensure we are providing necessary and equitable tools for support and ongoing enrichment. Our priority is to make sure all of our families are staying connected to school during this unique time of need.”
CONDENSED CHILD NUTRITION PICK-UP SCHEDULE:
In an effort to better serve and protect the health of students, families, food service providers, and staff at community feeding sites, NOLA Public Schools and our partners are condensing the weekly schedule at the Citywide Feeding Program sites by providing multiple days of meals during specific daily time frames. NOLA-PS also asks the business community for its support in ensuring that working families are allowed to leave work to pick-up these meals to ensure they are able to benefit from this program. See updated schedule below:
Citywide Feeding Program – Condensed Schedule:
- This Week: Meals for both Thursday and Friday will be served on Thursday, March 26 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Community Feeding Sites will NOT be open on Friday, March 27.
- Next Week and Moving Forward:
- Starting on Monday, March 30 – every Monday, meals will be provided for two days.
- Every Wednesday, meals will be provided for three days.
- Moving forward Community Feeding sites will NOT be open on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday.
- Service Hours: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Families wishing to access information on child nutrition resources should visit the District’s webpage at https://nolapublicschools.com/covid19/nutrition. This webpage has the most up-to-date listing of where food services are available.
Today, NOLA-PS staff delivered 2,000 safety masks to food service providers and school staff working at the 45 food distribution sites across the city, which are a part of the Citywide Feeding Program.
PLEASE REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING:
CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAM DETAILS:
- Students over 18 that are enrolled in public K-12 schools, including students with disabilities through age 22, are also eligible for free meals at open sites.
- Students do not need to be present to receive meals. Parents or caregivers may pick up meals on behalf of the students within their household.
- Child nutrition resources are available to those under 18 years of age and those who currently attend a public school.
- Students who are over 18 years of age and are currently enrolled in public schools will also be allowed to access the community feeding programming. Schools will be contacting those families directly to ensure they are aware of the services available to them.
As a precaution, the District has reissued reminders to all officials at school child nutrition sites to follow the health screening protocols provided by the District for feeding sites. Screening methods include, but are not limited to, daily temperature checks of staff before meals are prepared. Those guidelines apply to all sites operating in the Citywide Coordinated Feeding Effort. NOLA-PS in coordination with the New Orleans Health Department will make decisions regarding the operation of individual Community Feeding sites as a result of this screening method.
WI-FI ACCESS SECURED FOR STUDENTS IN NEED:
On Wednesday, March 18, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) announced it has been collecting data from school leaders to assess Wi-Fi access needs among students and as a result has secured 5,000 hotspots to support gaps in Wi-Fi access for public school students most in need. NOLA-PS is utilizing emergency funding approved by the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) on Friday, March 13 to purchase the hotspots. NOLA-PS will be finalizing a plan for distribution in coordination with schools based upon need at the school and student level. All families are also encouraged to review and consider Cox’s low-cost internet offers for families, through their Connect2Compete program. Additionally, NOLA-PS is working with schools to utilize AT&T’s special offerings of free internet for 60 days, Distance Learning and Helping You Work and Learn Remotely.
Currently, NOLA-PS is executing the following to support students’ ongoing learning:
- Establishing an online tool box for charter schools to access that includes resources for schools to download to support student learning. The toolbox has been shared with early childhood providers, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and private schools as well.
- Providing a list of free online resources available to schools and students.
- Consulting with each charter school organization on their current distance learning plans and resources needs in order to fill immediate gaps and identify emerging resource needs.
- Providing resources and support for schools in planning for special education and high school seniors.
- Collecting and sharing resources with schools citywide on how to support the mental health needs of students during this crisis.
- Having dedicated staff on-call to help schools as they implement their distance learning plans.
On Tuesday, March 17, BESE submitted a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards moving to cancel LEAP testing, school performance scores and requirements for end-of-course testing, a move many other states have made. At this time the district and our schools are focused on caring for our community by ensuring continuity of learning, and availability of child nutrition programs. NOLA-PS will be assessing how these various waivers and potential actions will impact the 2019-2020 school year and beyond as more information comes available over the coming months. Click here to see the full brief from BESE.
Even with districtwide school closures, NOLA-PS still anticipates releasing the results of the first round of OneApp later this month. Families can continue to submit Early Childhood applications until Friday, March 27, though you will not be able to complete the document verification process. Additional information will be shared with families who submit an application by that deadline about how to provide necessary documents for these programs. Families should complete the online portion of the application by the Friday, March 27 deadline. If you need help with the application or have any questions please email: email@example.com and visit: www.enrollnola.org.
NOLA-PS continues to encourage our schools, students, and families to follow everyday practices to remain healthy and monitor their health in accordance with CDC recommendations. The District encourages our community of schools to follow local and state guidelines adhering to social distancing recommendations in an effort to keep our students, families, and educators healthy.
Additionally, NOLA-PS encourages all to remain connected and mindful of updates being disseminated by the District in order to stay informed of how COVID-19 is impacting our school community. For regular District updates, please visit our Coronavirus webpage.
For more information on the virus, visit http://ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus.
For information on what to do if you are sick, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf.
If you have questions about Coronavirus, please contact the Coronavirus general information line at 1-855-523-2652 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.