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

After Hurricane Zeta caused widespread power outages across New Orleans, the NOLA Public Schools district announced that school will be cancelled again Friday. 

“Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. and his team are working with schools to determine the conditions of all facilities and plan any necessary recovery efforts,” district spokeswoman Taslin Alfonzo wrote. 

The cancellation marks the second day in a row the district called off both in-person and virtual learning in a year complicated by COVID-19 related closures and several other tropical storm system threats to the city. The district also called off in-person classes on Wednesday, and later cancelled virtual classes on Wednesday afternoon as the storm approached the city. 

The category 2 hurricane made landfall Wednesday afternoon along the coast and passed through the city by late evening. At that point, nearly 80 percent of the city was without power. Entergy New Orleans hopes to restore power by the weekend for most customers, but officials have also acknowledged that a hurricane of Zeta’s strength can cause damage that takes up to 10 days to fully repair. 

“The NOLA-PS team will consider the progress of Entergy to restore power, the needs of our school community, and the availability of city services to guide the appropriate timeline for a concerted return to in-person and distance learning for students at all grade levels,” Alfonzo wrote.

The district did not provide any information about potential physical damage to school buildings after Zeta whipped through the city packing close to 100-mile-per-hour winds. One school in neighboring St. Bernard Parish appeared to lose part of its roof

Food service will also be discontinued Friday and the district’s COVID-19 case tracker will be updated Friday instead of the typical Thursday update. 

The district will update families on Sunday regarding plans for next week. 

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...