Booker T. Washington High School. (Marta Jewson/The Lens)

NOLA Public Schools will resume remote learning Wednesday after it was cancelled on Tuesday due to potential threats from Hurricane Sally, and schools can open in-person on Thursday for the first time since the pandemic shuttered schools in the spring.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded the city’s hurricane warning to a tropical storm warning on Tuesday morning, and has since cancelled it. The category 2 hurricane turned away from New Orleans and is expected to linger over the Alabama and Florida panhandle coastline. 

The storm caused the district to delay its planned return to in-person learning for three days. Schools can open to pre-kindergarten through fourth grade students between Sept. 17 and Sept. 25. Older students can return in mid-October if health data supports the move. All students have the option to learn remotely throughout the year, district officials reiterated. 

School buildings in New Orleans have been closed since Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a statewide closure of public schools on March 13. This fall, schools around the state were allowed to open again but NOLA Public Schools chose to start remotely as cases rose toward the end of July. School began virtually in August.

Schools reacted to the in-person delay caused by the storm differently. Some, such as FirstLine Schools were set to return Monday but have delayed their in-person start an entire week to preserve the staggered start they had scheduled. Others, like InspireNOLA and Plessy Community School will start welcoming students Thursday. 

Schools will also resume serving meals again on Wednesday. 

The storm shuttered surrounding school districts as well, which are slowly announcing a return to classes as additional school closures are called down the Gulf Coast. 

The storm also caused the Orleans Parish School Board to delay its Tuesday committee meetings until Thursday. 

“NOLA-PS reminds everyone to stay weather aware as Hurricane Sally may still continue to impact our community,” a district statement read. 

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...