VIDEO: New Orleans Public Schools update distance learning

NOLA Public Schools news conference updating distance learning

Orleans Parish School officials present a united front as they prepare for an unprecedented school year.

New Orleans Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. and other school leaders provided important updates Wednesday, August 5, 2020 about distance learning and how schools are progressing as remote classes start in coming weeks during the District’s weekly press conference.

Leaders from KIPP New Orleans, FrontLine, and Audubon schools each presented an overview of how thier schools plan to operate as well as represented other systems within the parish that have collaborated through the summer to create contingency plans to deal with Coronavirus restrictions.

They stressed that even though Orleans Parish's multiple charter systems make it unique, all schools worked together to create plans to provide the best virtual learning experience possible for students.

KIPP New Orleans Chief Strategy Officer Joey LaRoche said, “We want kids to have really rich experiences. We are not at home and because we are at home we are just doing reading and math. No. Our kids need all of their subjects. They need all of their enriching experiences because we’re developing whole children and whole New Orleanians in the process and they still need to grow up to carry on the culture of this city.”

School leaders say arts classes like band and choir will benefit from being virtual as they would not be permitted in person during phase two Coronavirus restrictions.

Lewis addressed digital divide concerns - saying the district has enough Chromebook computers for each student and continues to work on getting hot spots to families that need them.

The need for more accessible Wi-Fi is also a high a high priority. 

Lewis also said there are still some students that may not yet have received the equipment at the time he was speaking, but it is available and in the process of getting distributed by schools.

The leaders stressed it is most important that families participate. FirstLine Schools CEO Sabrina Pence said, “We want to make sure everybody knows that school is starting. It’s not like the spring. It’s not an emergency scenario. This is a virtual learning scenario and we need everyone to be at school.”

Henderson said that the district’s goal is to get kids back into the classroom. He asked the community to work hard at Covid mitigation efforts to reduce the numbers and allow for a return to in person learning.

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