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 tracking 525 “active” cases of COVID-19 among students and staff across 56 campuses and 910 people are quarantining after coming into contact with a positive case.

That’s an increase over last week’s 384 reported cases. 

Reported infections in district schools have fallen greatly from early January reports, when the city was experiencing a surge of omicron cases, including one week in which the district was tracking 2,233 cases.

School officials have begun collecting COVID-19 vaccination data from students. On Feb. 1, a new mandate went into effect requiring all students 5 years of age and older to be fully vaccinated. 

“The vaccine can help our children stay healthy and can ultimately help save lives,” Schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said in a district release. “Our community of schools will continue to advocate for our students and work with families to do what’s best for their children.”

The NOLA Public Schools district requested the vaccine be added to its schedule of required vaccines in mid-December. It mirrors a similar city rule that requires children be vaccinated to enter public buildings and certain establishments. Families can opt-out of the school requirement by submitting a letter of dissent. 

As of last week, the district had reported 6,112 cases thus far this school year. This week, that total stood at 6,742, indicating an increase of 630 cases. (The district has previously added late-reported cases that are no longer considered “active” to the cumulative total.) 

The district completed 21,585 tests last week with a reported 2.15 percent positivity rate. That should yield roughly 464 new cases, but it’s likely that some students and staff received positive results from third-party testing sites. 

The 525 total cases of COVID-19 were among 39 staff members and 486 students.

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...