Cantrell: New Orleans to Remain in Phase 2 “Until Kids Get Back in School”

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell

At a press conference with New Orleans Public Schools (NOLA-PS), Mayor LaToya Cantrell confirmed today that New Orleans will remain in Phase 2, “until kids get back in school.”

“While I did hear the Governor make an announcement this morning that he will move the state into Phase 3, he did not give any information as to what that may look like,” Cantrell said. “Our primary reason for us staying in Phase 2 is to get our kids back into the classroom, have the time to look at the data, and determine the trends until we get to 100 percent. That is the priority for the city and our community. It is imperative to their growth and also to our economy.”

“We are very lucky to have a mayor who is standing in this moment to ensure that our young people are the priority,” said NOLA-PS Board President Ethan Ashley. “While we are offering in-person learning for our youngest learners, if you opt to stay virtual, we will ensure that you are able to do so.”

NOLA-PS Superintendent Henderson Lewis confirmed that as of now, COVID-19 cases in the city have remained low enough to allow public schools to proceed with the district’s Roadmap to Reopening. Under that guidance, children in kindergarten through 4th grade will return to in-person learning Sept. 14-25. According to Lewis, this plan prioritizes “the younger ones who have the most to gain both academically and socially from in-person learning.”

However, Lewis said, the district will continue to take a “deliberate and measured approach” to returning students to the classroom. “NOLA-PS maintains the authority to close any school building should it become necessary to do so to safeguard students, teachers, staff, and families,” Lewis stated.

Although the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) announced yesterday that in-person practices for high school sports can resume, both Cantrell and Dr. Jennifer Avegno confirmed that the current Phase 2 guidelines will remain in place in New Orleans. “How does LHSAA plan to keep our children, coaches, and their families safe,” Dr. Avegno asked. She then noted that once LSHAA has a plan in place, then conversations can begin around easing those restrictions for high school sports.

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