LOS ANGELES—As Omicron cases surge, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which is requiring all staff and students to get tested for COVID-19 before school begins on Jan. 11, distributed at-home testing kits to students over the weekend.
The LAUSD announced on Jan. 4 that all students and staff must test negative for COVID-19—regardless of vaccination or booster status—before the spring semester starts.
All students and staff must upload proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to the district’s Daily Pass mobile application to return to campus. External PCR tests, antigen tests, or at-home tests are accepted.
The district began distributing kits at its 63 Grab & Go food centers on Jan. 7 until noon the following day.
According to the LAUSD’s website, walk-up testing sites will also be available throughout the district from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 10—which will also be a “Pupil-Free Day” for teachers and staff to undergo training and prepare for the new semester.
The decision was met with backlash from some parents, who expressed frustration with the ’s safety protocols—some of the strictest among school districts in the nation.
Kristina Irwin, who has three children in the LAUSD, told The Epoch Times in a previous interview she and other parents were concerned with the district’s handling of administering tests. Irwin is also running for Los Angeles City Council District 5.
“First they want to do a baseline test before the kids go back to school. … Now they want to test weekly,” Irwin said. “It’s so ridiculous. Where does it end?”
As of Jan. 7, more than half of teachers and staff uploaded their test results to the Daily Pass app, while about 30 percent of students also turned in their results, according to LAUSD Interim Superintendent Megan Reilly.
So far, about 13.5 percent of LAUSD students and staff tested positive for COVID-19, the Los Angeles Times reported on Jan. 7.
Besides mandatory testing, the district will be subject to the Los Angeles County Health Department’s outdoor mask mandate for students and “upgraded” surgical or N95 mask mandate for staff.
Weekly testing will continue for all students and employees through the month of January.