LAUSD to start testing youngest students for coronavirus

LAUSD to start testing youngest students for coronavirus

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program is entering a new phase this week, as the district begins offering tests to some of its youngest learners, Superintendent Austin Beutner announced on Monday, Oct. 5.

Children in early education and elementary schools, as well as all staff members, will have an opportunity to get tested as the district works to put in place safety measures in anticipation of an eventual return to campuses.

Families will be notified by their child’s principal when it’s time for them to be tested. Appointments can be made online, and the test itself, which will consist of a nasal swab, will take place at school testing sites and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Results should be available within 24 to 36 hours.

The idea is to test all students and staff now to establish a baseline of the COVID-19 infection rate and to conduct a second round of baseline testing before schools reopen. There also will be periodic follow-up testing throughout the school year. Additionally, the district will provide tests to those living in the same household as students or staff members who are diagnosed with the coronavirus or who exhibit symptoms.

The district tested about 5,000 people per day by the end of last week and hopes to double that daily count this week. Eventually, the goal is to test 40,000 people a day after schools reopen. Officials previously estimated the initiative to cost about $300 per student for the entire school year and are hoping to recoup their expenses through state or federal funding.

As of Sunday, the district had tested 34,833 people. Of the 32,235 people whose results had come in, 65, or 0.2%, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Also this week, several schools will take part in a pilot program as the district tests out a Daily Pass App designed by Microsoft. While the app has been used by customers worldwide, LAUSD will be the first school district to use it, according to Beutner.

The app will work much like an electronic ticket that one can call up on their phone and will be used to admit students, staff and others onto campus after they’ve been cleared as healthy.

Latest Category Posts