Mandatory Covid Testing At Los Angeles Schools Uncovers More Than 3,600 New Cases Among Students & Staff; School Started Monday

With the Los Angeles Unified School District requiring students and staff to undergo Covid-19 testing, baseline screening conducted in the past two weeks uncovered more than 3,600 positive cases.

That’s equivalent to another full day of cases for L.A. County, which has been reporting around 3,000 new cases every 24 hours, of late. (The 2,426 new cases it reported on Monday was low due to weekend delays.)

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According to statistics released late Monday, the first day of fall classes in the LAUSD, roughly 81% of the district’s students underwent baseline Covid testing between Aug. 2-15, and 3,255 of them tested positive for the virus. That’s a testing-positivity rate of roughly 0.8%. That’s far below the countywide positivity rate of 3.5% on Monday, but could change as kids begin to gather en masse.

A total of 399 cases were found among district employees, for a positivity rate of 0.6%, according to the district.

The district will require weekly Covid testing for students and employees, regardless of their vaccination status. All district employees must be fully vaccinated by October 15. Kids under 12 are not eligible for vaccination.

The health screenings led to long lines of students at some schools Monday as classes resumed, due to the high volume of students and parents trying to access the Daily Pass app the district is using to verify tests. The app generates a code that can be scanned as students enter campus.

Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly acknowledged Monday that the system was slow, contributing to lines at some schools, but it was due to the sheer number of people trying to access the app at once.

In releasing the baseline testing figures Monday, district officials noted that the screening “has helped families and employees stay safe at home and get the care they need as we start the new school year.”

Outbreaks have already been reported locally in Ventura County schools that opened last week and also in schools across the state, such as those in Oakland.

At a meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Monday, Charles Barfield, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association, the county’s largest union, and Sarah Auwarter, president of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers spoke out about rising infections among workers there.

Barfield criticized the county’s self-attestation process of asking county employees to volunteer whether they have been vaccinated. Barfield preferred that employees show proof of vaccination.

Barfield said there has been an “alarming increase” in outbreaks among some employees in the county’s offices serving the public. He advocated enforcing mask usage for the public and employees indoors on county property.

Auwarter said she wished state officials would enforce mask usage for students and educators indoors and outdoors.

Video: U.S. kids hospitalized with COVID-19 hits record

City News Service contributed to this report.

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