BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Governor John Bel Edwards provided updates on COVID-19, hurricane season, and the Legislative Session on Thursday afternoon.

Edwards started the conference talking about the state budget. He says this is the best budget for higher education in a generation. Edwards has raised the pay for teachers for the fifth time since being in office. Teachers are expected to receive a $1,500 raise with support workers getting a $750 raise.

In higher education, faculty will receive 31 million in pay raises.

“It is very important that we have a pay in place that incentivizes people to become teachers and remain in the classroom,” Edwards said.

Edwards mentioned that the legislature was able to narrow down the newest Mississippi River bridge to three locations last week.

Edwards said he talked to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Casey Tingle before the conference. Edwards said that Mayorkas was making sure Louisiana was getting ready for hurricane season.

“I know it’s kind of hard for people to think about hurricane season, especially those who are still recovering, but I’m asking everybody to do just that,” Edwards said. “We have to be ready throughout hurricane season so please get a game plan.”

Visit getagameplan.org for checklists on what you need to prepare, lists of evacuation shelters, public service announcements and more.

For those still rebuilding their homes or businesses, Edwards says to go to restore.la.gov to participate in the restore program for inspections.

As for COVID-19, Edwards says that there has been an increase in Omicron cases, but hospitalizations are low.

“I’m asking people to understand that COVID is still out there. There are things you can do now to protect yourself and your family. That being vaccinated and boosted is critically important,” Edwards said.

Edwards held a press conference at 4 p.m. in the Governor’s Press Room at the Louisiana State Capitol.

Watch the full conference in the video player above.