For LA Unified Students, Technical Hassles And A Cautious Return To Classes Amid Omicron Surge
For a first day back from winter break, the campus of Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights was noticeably hushed Tuesday morning.
Scores of students hung back from the school entrances on the sidewalks, their faces buried in their cell phones as they repeatedly tapped their screens trying to log onto the district’s mobile app Daily Pass.
This am, LAUSD students came back from winter break amid a surge that had nearly 17% of them testing positive for covid (as of Monday).— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) January 11, 2022
To get into school, students had to show they'd tested negative thru the Daily Pass phone app…which had crashed, creating long lines. pic.twitter.com/CbSE4BFJnl
The app, built for LAUSD, lets students book the COVID-19 tests required to return to school and — if they’re negative — produce a QR code to show staff so they can get to class.
But with so many students visiting the site at once Tuesday, the app was stalling out and some reported hour-long waits to log on.
“It’s just like loading, loading the whole time,” said senior Daniel Flores, who first tried to use the app when he woke up around 7:30 a.m. More than an hour later, he was still waiting. “Sometimes, I even get an error.”
Daily Pass is the COVID app built for LAUSD that lets students do things like book tests and get a QR code to show staff so they can get into school.— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) January 11, 2022
Students at Roosevelt High in Boyle Heights say usually there aren’t any probs but lots of ppl were on the app all at once today pic.twitter.com/vsr7YfFszz
Still, the eight students interviewed by LAist treated the technical snafu as a minor inconvenience. The last time they could recall any major problem with Daily Pass was at the start of the school year when masses of students were logging on at the same time.
An L.A. Unified spokesperson says the system was overwhelmed but never crashed and the issues were worked out within a few hours.
Some students said preventing illness from COVID was a priority, as the omicron variant tore through the city. Of students recently tested for COVID, the positivity rate was nearly 17%, the district said Monday.
”Just hearing the recent COVID cases spiking up — it kind of gets me a little bit paranoid to be back,” said senior America Muñoz. “It really does take a toll on you because you want to be as safe as possible.”
Muñoz said she would be comfortable with going back to remote learning if it was deemed necessary. But sophomore Andrea Buenrostro would rather go through extra hurdles such as testing than return to online school.
“Here (at school), you could ask for help after class without feeling embarrassed like on Zoom if your microphone didn't work — or your video or internet,” Buenrostro said.
Tuesday’s return to campuses was accompanied by the news that all athletic competition this week would be postponed and rescheduled because of the surge in covid cases.
The late Sunday announcement tempered senior Ramon Peraza’s excitement at being reunited with friends. The baseball player wondered aloud if the upcoming season could be canceled.
“It's gonna suck,” Peraza said. “We played like seven games (sophomore year). Then COVID happened and then we didn't play at all.”
With the last couple years upended by COVID, Peraza said he and other seniors would really just like to finish out their high school careers actually physically in school.