HOUSTON, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- All public schools in the U.S. city of New Orleans reverted to online teaching on Thursday due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases.
New Orleans Public Schools published a release earlier this week, saying that due to a very concerning spike in the prevalence of COVID-19 in New Orleans, the city's public schools would "return to distance learning District-wide to best protect the health and safety of our students, their families, and our staff and teachers."
School leaders were instructed to move all Pre-K-12 classes to distance learning no later than Jan. 7. "New Orleans Public Schools will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and trends and reevaluate this decision no sooner than Jan. 21, in hopes that the local trend in positivity rates and case counts improves," the release said.
"All along, we have taken a very measured approach as we respond to the shifting circumstances of this pandemic," New Orleans Public Schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis, Jr. said.
"Citywide data over the past few days has shown a dramatic uptick in positivity rates, and so, based upon the advice of our health advisors, we felt we had to make the very unfortunate but necessary decision to return to distance learning to keep our students, staff, teachers and community safe," he added.
The city's data tracking the pandemic showed a significant jump in the rate of positive cases over the past few days, indicating a worsening trend. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, total COVID-19 cases in Orleans Parish where New Orleans is located have topped 22,000.