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Children's Hospital Partners with Louisiana Department of Education to support safe school reopening

Children's Hospital Partners with Louisiana Department of Education to support safe school reopening

Children’s Hospital New Orleans serves as resource for schools across Louisiana through its Return to School Support program, providing guidance on best practices, procedures, and approaches to keep students and teachers safe upon reopening.

NEW ORLEANS – As the health experts for kids in Louisiana, Children’s Hospital New Orleans is working to support schools, teachers, students, and their families across the state in returning to school, as it is determined safe to do so by state and local officials.

Through its partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), Children’s Hospital’s team of COVID-19 guidance experts is supporting 3,000+ childcare centers and public schools across the state in their reopening plans and processes.

Children’s Hospital’s expertise will continue to be shared through additional collaborations with private, parochial and charter schools across the state. In addition to public school systems throughout Louisiana, Children’s is working with 12 Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) schools from New Orleans, to Alexandria and Lafayette, as well as 11 New Orleans-area charter schools, a number of Catholic schools under the Archdiocese, early childhood programs, and others.

“Our expertise gained since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with our existing School Wellness initiatives provides Children’s Hospital a natural opportunity to help make the reopening process for schools this fall a safer, smoother experience for students, parents, and educators,” says Leron Finger, MD, Chief Quality Officer at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

“In close collaboration with the DOE, LDH, and public health experts, we’re working diligently to prioritize kids’ safety while continuing their educational development. We’ve been able to take CDC guidelines and apply safe approaches and best practices across a diverse spectrum of educational institutions with varying needs.”

Children’s Hospital’s Return to School Support program provides access to a hotline staffed by skilled nurses weekdays between 7 am and 11 pm. The nurses are available to advise school staff who have medical questions about students or team members related to COVID-19. The hotline also facilitates further guidance from primary care providers, at home symptom monitoring for positive cases, and return to school screening.

“Throughout the process of developing reopening guidance and offering support to our schools, the Louisiana Department of Education has benefited from strong relationships with the medical community, including our partnership with Children’s Hospital New Orleans,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley.

“The nurse hotline is an important resource in providing our educators access to medical experts who can help them make sound decisions around students and employee safety.”

In collaboration with LDOE and NOLA Public Schools, Children’s Hospital is also hosting regular town hall webinars for educators, school administrators and support staff on topics including COVID-19 transmission basics, prevention measures and sanitation best practices, and additional tips for guideline implementation.

Educators are able to ask questions during the live town halls, which are being offered on a regular cadence from Children’s guidance experts. Continuing education opportunities for school nurses will also be offered on how to navigate COVID-19 precautionary measures and related situational management.

“Our return to school support involves direct collaboration with the schools,” says Tony Gonzales, MD, Medical Director for School Based Wellness Initiatives at Children’s Hospital. “We understand that each school is unique and will work to best support their individual needs as we navigate this new normal and implementation of best practices to keep our children and teachers safe upon returning to in person learning when that time comes.”

Educators, parents, and students can find additional information and resources on the Children’s Hospital website at chnola.org/school-wellness.

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About Children’s Hospital New Orleans

Children’s Hospital New Orleans is a 257-bed, non-profit academic pediatric medical center that offers comprehensive healthcare services, including over 40 pediatric specialties, delivered just for children. With more than 400 physicians trained in more than 40 pediatric sub-specialties, Children’s offers a comprehensive array of pediatric healthcare services in Louisiana and the Gulf South.

In addition to its main campus located in New Orleans, the hospital operates a network of specialty clinics across Louisiana and in Southern Mississippi, including in Covington, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette. Children’s Hospital offers primary care services at 15 convenient locations throughout Southeast Louisiana and remotely via its Virtual Care app.

Children’s Hospital is a proud member of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based, not-for-profit hospital system which also includes New Orleans East Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center New Orleans and West Jefferson Medical Center.