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LAUSD Monitoring System Leaked Names Of Students Who Tested Positive For COVID

A man looks at a computer screen, with his hands on the keyboard.
COVID-19 test result information was sent in error to a number of people in November, including other LAUSD parents.
(Photo by GaudiLab via Shutterstock)
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The computer system used by the Los Angeles Unified School District to keep track of coronavirus sent out emails about students who tested positive to people outside their families.

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LAUSD Monitoring System Leaked Names Of Students Who Tested Positive For COVID

More than a week later, the district has not provided any guidance to those who received the information.

According to LAUSD spokesperson Lourdes Valentine, Microsoft “inadvertently sent emails containing COVID-19 test result information to a limited number of unauthorized people, including other Los Angeles Unified parents” on Nov. 22.

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Emails seen by LAist did not appear to offer any personal information beyond the students' names and health status.

The technology company, Valentine added, “has informed us that the problem resulted from a programming error” and “assures us that the problem has been corrected.”

Elissa Brown, a spokesperson for Microsoft, confirmed the issue and said it has been resolved, adding that it “impacted a small subset of individuals.”

A screenshot of bilingual (English and Spanish) emails received by one parent.
A screenshot of some of the emails received by one parent.
( Courtesy of Danny Kellermeyer )

Honor System

Danny Kellermeyer, who has two children in the district, said he received information about 182 students.

“My first thought was, like, ‘Well, I’m glad I got this because at least I’m not going to share this information,'” he said. “But who knows who else got this and whether or not they have the same scruples.”

To date, he added, he’s received no guidance from the district or even an acknowledgement of the incident.

“Transparency is always the best policy,” said Kellermeyer. “With a government institution — and one that is involved in such a sensitive matter like this, the health of everyone’s children — they should be more forthcoming. Not necessarily contacting me and being like ‘Please delete’ or whatever, but maybe some type of announcement.”

Kellermeyer said he felt an automated phone call or text message would have been an efficient way to communicate the programming error to the school community.

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The district declined to respond to questions about the number of affected families or whether they plan to follow up with the email recipients.

LAUSD turned to Microsoft in spring 2020 to design its COVID-19 response. Together, they developed Daily Pass, a first-of-its-kind system used to coordinate health checks, testing and vaccinations in one online tool.

This isn't the first incident for the system; glitches led to lengthy wait times for students trying to enter campuses at the beginning of the school year.

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