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NOLA Public School participating in COVID-19 testing incentives for unvaccinated students, staff

Orleans Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis say they will follow the new CDC...
Orleans Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis say they will follow the new CDC guidance recommending masks, however for the district, it is mandatory regardless of vaccination status.(WVUE FOX 8)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:49 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As parents and students prepare for another pandemic school year, Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis says NOLA Public School is better prepared.

“Every year our kids have to go through this pandemic, whether we’re talking about virtual learning, hybrid learning, we know that it is impacting them academically. We are talking about our future,” Lewis said.

The district hopes to preserve in-person learning throughout the academic year by requiring all students and staff to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

“This was a really important change and as we continue to evaluate this pandemic,” said Chief Operations Officer Tiffany Delcour. “You can anticipate additional changes to the safety measures we put in place.”

On top of mask-wearing, the district will participate in a voluntary COVID-19 testing program through the Louisiana Department of Health. LDH will provide virtual payments or physical cards to participants. State health officials are still ironing out details of the testing program, but students and staff will be paid at least $5 dollars, “therefore each month the participant could receive a minimum of $15 for three tests and a maximum of $25,” per LDH documents.

The agency is using funding from the American Rescue Plan for the program. The state will receive $140 million and documents show the federal government will provide $10 billion dollars nationally for similar programs.

“Financial incentives to every person who receives a test, every time they receive a test. Also, the schools participating will receive a financial incentive for participating,” said Delcour. “Testing lets us track and contain the spread of COVID-19 and specifically the more contagious delta variant. It is incredibly important and we’re so excited about having this resource for next school year.”

The district plans to keep mobile testing through the fall. While leaders strongly encourage all eligible students and staffers get vaccinated, it isn’t mandatory.

“Each charter management organization has the opportunity to work with their legal team to understand whether they can require their staff members,” said Lewis.

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