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Orleans leaders step up efforts to push student vaccinations

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 3:46 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Local officials are stepping up efforts to get students vaccinated as they report several new cases. Two vaccination units were in Orleans Parish schools today and the school board hopes many more students get the shot.

The Orleans Parish school system says there have been 116 covid cases since school starting with more than 600 people now in quarantine but they insist in school learning will continue.

“Our children are truly stronger together and I think we also know that we are too,” said Orleans school superintendent Henderson Lewis.

Two weeks into the new school year and while the Orleans Parish School Board is reporting dozens of COVID cases, they say progress is being made.

“I am proud and excited to say I am vaccinated,” said Frederick Douglass High Junior Leshana Gillum.

Mobile vaccination sites were set up at two Orleans public schools including Douglass, where a coalition of groups including Entergy New Orleans, the New Orleans Foundation, and the United Way, teamed up with Crescent Care to administer vaccinations.

‘175 who are with us today will receive their second dose,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

Vaccination efforts appear to be paying off. 99% of the faculty have gotten the shot at Ben Franklin High as well as 80% of the student body, with many schools now competing with one another.

“There is a challenge going around the city if you want to see which teams will be fully vaccinated first,” said Lewis.

And of the 116 Covid cases reported so far, school officials say most contracted the virus outside of school.

“More than half of those cases told schools they had it before they walked in the front door,” said Orleans School Chief Operating Officer Tiffany Delcour.

And for those who have pre-existing health conditions and fear in school learning, there are options

“The district is not requiring distance learning to be an option for the school year that schools may make an accommodation for individual students based on medical needs,” said Delcour.

School officials are requiring those too young to get vaccinated to wear facemasks, and they urge parents and those over 12 to get the shot.

“I’m excited that I can participate in activities at school and at home like volleyball and interact with my friends,” said Gillum.

And she hopes many more of those friends follow her lead.

Crescent Care, Ochsner, and other organizations are giving out vaccinations at many schools and other locations on a daily basis. For more information go to the coronavirus section of our website.

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