Students at 42 Charter School arrive on the first day of in-person classes since COVID-19 shuttered schools in March of 2020. (Michael Isaac Stein/The Lens)

The NOLA Public Schools district is monitoring 30 “active” cases of COVID-19 among staff and students, and 263 people are in quarantine after coming into contact with a positive case, according to the district’s weekly report issued Monday afternoon.

The case count is a small increase from the 22 cases reported the week prior. But quarantines have gone up sharply from 94 people in the previous report. Of the 30 cases reported this week, 24 are in students and 6 in staff members, across 24 campuses.

Bricolage Academy has three cases and 77 people in quarantine, nearly one-third of quarantines across the city. Several schools have more than 20 people in quarantine as well. 

So far this school year the district has reported 1,594 cases of COVID-19 among staff and students — more than double the 774 cases reported through all of last school year.

Meanwhile, Tulane University, which has performed some of the most extensive testing across the city, is experiencing a recent rise in COVID cases. University officials are reporting 118 active cases on campus and moved to reinstate the campus’s indoor mask mandate. They will also allow undergraduate students to finish the semester remotely after seeing a rise in cases on campus. 

“As you may be aware, we have seen an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases among our undergraduate population,” Tulane University President Michael Fitts wrote in a letter to the community. “The positivity rate is still lower than what we have experienced at several intervals during the past two years, and those testing positive are, as far as we know, either asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms.”

Tulane also ramped up its on-campus testing program in light of the increase in new cases.

On Dec. 8, the university reported 37 new cases of COVID-19. The university reported roughly two dozen new cases each of the next two days. That followed the revelation that they had at least one case of the recently discovered omicron variant diagnosed in a graduate student.

“In light of the timing of this increase in cases, we are offering all undergraduate students the option to complete the remainder of the semester remotely, either on campus, in their off-campus apartments or in their hometowns,” Tulane President Michael Fitts wrote.

However, because officials have not seen an increase in cases among graduate students, the remote option will only apply to undergraduate students. 

Nearby Loyola University of New Orleans is reporting 60 active cases and has seen the highest number of cases reported this semester over the last two weeks. 
On Saturday, Vice President of Student Affairs Alicia A. Bourque said in a letter that in-person exams would continue and encouraged students to wear masks and get vaccinated.

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...