Students at 42 Charter School have their temperatures checked on the first day of in-person classes since COVID-19 shuttered schools in March of 2020.

The NOLA Public Schools district is tracking 22 “active” COVID-19 cases among staff and students as of this week — 19 of which were reported in the last week. The cases have led to 501 quarantines, according to the district’s weekly case-tracking data posted Monday afternoon. The case count is slightly higher than last week’s update from NOLA Public Schools, when the district reported 15 cases. Quarantine numbers have nearly doubled from 254 last week.  

Overall, 14 cases are in students and eight in staff across 15 campuses. 

Two schools accounted for more than half of the district’s 501 people in quarantine. At Homer Plessy Community School’s French Quarter campus, two student cases and one staff case have forced 149 people to quarantine. One staff case at Akili Academy led to 130 quarantines.

The increases come as the city’s vaccination rate increases and public health officials relaxed masking requirements following new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control released last week.

The city’s average percent positive test rate has increased to 1.6 percent and the city is averaging 28 new cases her day, according to city data.

Nearly 41 percent of the city’s residents are fully vaccinated and just over 45 percent have received one dose.

Last week, the CDC approved the Pfizer vaccine for people as young as 12-years-old. The school district has said it is working with schools to coordinate vaccinations for interested students.  

Though Gov. John Bel Edwards has lifted the state’s mask mandate for private businesses and some government buildings, masks are still required at all early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary schools statewide. Vaccinated city residents are no longer required to wear masks inside private businesses, but Mayor LaToya Cantrell acknowledged that a vaccination requirement will be nearly impossible to enforce. Stores and other businesses are still allowed to set their own policies on masks. 

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...