New Orleans Public Schools will begin fully online

In this photo from June 30, a line for COVID-19 testing forms outside Andrew H. Wilson Charter School in New Orleans. On Tuesday, July 21, New Orleans Schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis said there won't be any in-person instruction in the city's schools before September. (Photo by Jarvis DeBerry)

New Orleans Public Schools will begin the fall semester fully online and won’t allow in-person instruction before September, the school district announced Tuesday.

“We are making this shift because we’re listening to the advice of medical experts,” Superintendent Henderson Lewis said in a news conference. “We’re committed to helping New Orleans get back on track and to help keep our students and teachers healthy given the current rate of community spread.”

Orleans Parish has seen over 100 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 a day for the past week, according to a NOLA Ready COVID-19 dashboard.

“We want to do our part to reverse these trends for (concerned teachers’) sake,” said Lewis. “And for the sake of their families by reducing the number of people moving and gathering as best as we can.”

A spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Education said he has not heard of any other school districts in the state that plan on starting school remotely like the New Orleans system does, but reiterated that “those decisions will be made at the local level based on what those leaders feel is best for their communities.”