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 123 COVID-19 cases in staff and students, according to the district’s latest weekly report, which district officials have confirmed will be the final report of the school year. 

That represents the fifth straight week of an increase in cases, which falls in line with increasing cases citywide on the heels of school spring breaks, proms and Jazz Fest.

The city is averaging 83 new cases per day with a test positivity rate of 2.7 percent — both figures have increased over the past few weeks.

The Louisiana Department of Health, from which the NOLA Public School district gets its COVID data, recorded 167 cases last week from 23 schools in Orleans Parish. The state does not publish school-by-school case counts. So the total can include private and state-run charter schools in addition to district charters. The department’s website noted it will be the final schools report of the school year. 

For most of the school year, as well as the 2020-2021 school year, the NOLA Public Schools district was collecting and publishing its own data from New Orleans charter schools. But in mid-April, it started relying solely on the state’s report, no longer asking schools to submit their data to the district central office. 

“Since the District uses LDH’s data to update its COVID Tracker, this will also be NOLA-PS’ last week reporting data,” district spokeswoman Taslin Alfonzo wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon. “NOLA-PS will continue to coordinate with LDH over the summer to better understand what data will be available for the start of the 2022-2023 school year.”

The district also facilitates mass COVID-19 testing for students at local schools, reporting thousands of tests per week during most of the school year. But it appears that will slow down as the school year comes to an end.  

“Testing is dramatically winding down as we near the end of the school year,” Alfonzo wrote. “Though testing will continue for schools that requested it during the month of June, it will not be publicly posted as the numbers of tests taken each week are expected to be very low.”

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...