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NOLA Public Schools offering COVID-19 cash incentive

NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis addressing high COVID case count in district.
NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis addressing high COVID case count in district.(WVUE)
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 1:20 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans Public Schools will pay students and staff who aren’t vaccinated, officials announced Tuesday, Aug. 24 at a news conference addressing the growing case count in the district.

People will be paid $25 for an initial COVID test then $10 weekly. The funds will be available through virtual E-cards. It’s part of a program between the district and the Louisiana Department of Health. The funding comes through coronavirus federal funds.

District Medical Advisor Dr. Benjamin F. Springgate reports 453 active COVID cases this week. Of them, 399 cases are in students. There are currently 4,657 students and staff members in quarantine with 4,520 being students. Springgate says the high amount in quarantine reflects the district’s successful mitigation.

“These numbers are not what we want to see but I also have to also say they are not to be unexpected. It’s crucial for everyone to understand these numbers reflect spread in our broad community and not our schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis. “Our schools on the other hand are taking all the precautions to prevent spread.”

New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno says statewide, students make up about 25% percent of confirmed cases.

“There is a little ray of light in peak hospitalization data,” she said. “Two weeks ago, the week of the 8th, [CDC] reported 88 pediatric patients for delta, and this week, the week of the 22nd, they’re only reporting eight. That’s a really, really good indicator. Although we know there are many cases among kids but what really concerns us of course is the hospitalization.”

Dr. Lewis says he’s waiting for state leaders to add the FDA-approved Pfizer COVID vaccine to the list of student requirements.

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“We talk about the vaccination now but we know our young people that before they go to school there’s a whole series of vaccinations they have to take before going to school. We’re looking forward to the day the covid-19 vaccination is added to the list,” Lewis said during a Tuesday (Aug. 24) news conference.

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