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LAUSD Requiring All Staff And Students, Vaccinated Or Not, To Take COVID-19 Tests Before New School Year Starts

 A student in a dark hoodie and pants places a nasal swab from a COVID-19 test into a tube, held by a worker in blue protective gear, at an L.A. Unified School District screening site at San Fernando Middle School in March 2021.
A student places a nasal swab from a COVID-19 test into a tube at an L.A. Unified School District screening site at San Fernando Middle School in March 2021.
(Kyle Stokes
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Los Angeles Unified School District officials will require all students and employees — whether they’re vaccinated or not — to get a COVID-19 test before the new school year begins on Aug. 16, and to participate in weekly testing once they're back on campuses.

LAUSD leaders, who announced the change in policy Thursday, are planning for a full year of on-campus instruction with few of last spring's pandemic restrictions. District officials had been planning to only require unvaccinated students and staff to take the tests.

Late on Wednesday, though, the L.A. County Department of Public Health posted new guidance recommending that schools screen both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals for COVID-19 "if testing capacity allows." LAUSD officials say they're now following this updated guidance.

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"Ultimately, the greatest protection against COVID and the Delta variant is vaccination," said Megan Reilly, LAUSD's interim superintendent, in an email sent district-wide. "We encourage everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated."

LAUSD will require students to take a "baseline" test within the two weeks before school begins Aug. 16. While theoretically a test taken starting Aug. 2 would satisfy the district's requirement, officials have been urging students and staff to schedule their tests for sometime in the seven days before school starts.

Last spring, the district did not allow students and staff without valid test results to enter campuses.

Once school begins, LAUSD will send mobile teams to campuses to offer weekly COVID-19 tests.

What questions do you have about K-12 education in Southern California?
Kyle Stokes reports on the public education system — and the societal forces, parental choices and political decisions that determine which students get access to a “good” school (and how we define a “good school”).

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