An IT worker helps set up NOLA Public Schools district laptops that have been newly delivered to John F. Kennedy High School during a statewide school shutdown meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Students will receive the laptops soon. (Photos provided by Kevin George)

Summer school in NOLA Public Schools district’s charters will be held online due to COVID-19’s unique grasp on New Orleans, the district announced Wednesday. 

The news came the same day the Louisiana Department of Health and Louisiana Department of Education issued guidelines that encouraged students and teachers to wear masks, wash hands every two hours and limited in-person classes to groups of the same 10 people, including the teacher, throughout the summer.

“Given this guidance and the scope of the COVID-19 outbreak in Orleans Parish, all NOLA-PS schools will conduct summer school for students virtually as we plan for a safe reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year,” a district statement said. 

About 60 percent of New Orleans charter schools are planning to offer summer school, a state survey found. Many were planning on virtual classes but some had hoped to hold classes in-person. 

As the city and state prepare to move into phase one later this week, it’s unclear if charter schools — some of which lease buildings from the district or other entities, some of which own their own buildings — may open on their own. The district did not answer a question about whether charters would be able to do that.

When schools shut down to help slow the spread of the virus March 13, charters and the district worked to provide laptops and hotspots for students. The district provided 10,000 laptops and more than 8,000 hotspots to students. 

At an Orleans Parish School Board committee meeting earlier this week, the district estimated 36,000 devices are still needed to ensure students have adequate internet access. That number includes students who are working on personal computers. 

Families should check with their individual school for summer school details. 

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...