A NOLA Public Schools nurse receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

NOLA Public Schools district officials on Monday reported that about 3,000 school staff members have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. And cases among New Orleans students and school staff remain low, according to the district’s latest weekly report. 

More than 1,500 school staffers had received vaccines by the end of February, and an additional 1,440 were vaccinated as of March 7, NOLA Public Schools district spokeswoman Taslin Alfonzo confirmed in a Monday email. Those are just the staff members who were vaccinated through the district’s programs, not those who scheduled appointments on their own.

“Last week 650 staff were provided vaccinations through New Orleans East Hospital mobile vaccination units across twelve school campuses, 70 staff were provided vaccinations through a Children’s Hospital mobile vaccination unit and approximately 500 staff were provided vaccinations through appointments at Children’s Hospital,” she wrote. 

“All additional vaccinations were provided to school staff through other healthcare partners such as Depaul Community Health Center, Crescent Care and others,” she wrote. “By March 11th all schools that NOLA Public Schools is partnering with will be connected to a health care partner to receive their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Last week, the Louisiana Department of Health received its first shipment of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and mass vaccination sites have opened in New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish.

This week the district reported 12 “active” cases of COVID-19 among school staff and students and 105 people were quarantining. Last week, the district was tracking 13 active cases and 106 people were quarantining. Cases among New Orleans public school students and staff have been trending lower since reaching a winter peak in January.

The trend among students and staff corresponds with improving numbers citywide. New Orleans is averaging 31 cases per day over a one week span and the state’s most recent test positivity rate for New Orleans was 1.5 percent, significantly lower than the near 10 percent peak the city hit at the beginning of January. That led to a temporary closure of school campuses — all city schools reopened after Mardi Gras.

Cases in New Orleans have remained slow since the holiday and the city has eased restrictions somewhat. Mayor LaToya Cantrell, however, has kept the city in a modified phase 2 reopening plan even as Gov. John Bel Edwards last week moved the rest of the state into the less restrictive phase 3. 

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...