When students and staff in the 600,000-strong Los Angeles Unified School District returned for personal learning this week, routine tests at schools in many districts identified thousands of Covid-19 infections.
In the week from January 3 to January 9, 547,466 tests were administered across school districts in the county, with most tests taking place for LAUSD students and staff. Last week, 80,424 positive cases were identified, including 68,560 cases among LAUSD staff and students, resulting in a test positivity rate of 14.6%. Although a high number, it is less than the 20% positivity rate in LA County-at-large.
A total of three outbreaks among youth sports teams were also identified last week, with a further 26 school-related outbreaks still being monitored. As a result, LAUSD put all school sports competitions on hiatus this week as administrators monitored conditions.
“When schools reopen across the country, we see a high number of students and staff testing positive, reflecting the explosive rate of community proliferation,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health. “Testing those who are in close contact with infected students or school staff can quickly identify others who may now be infected and limit continued spread; and by making it easy for those eligible to receive their booster doses, it helps ensure that the immune system is best placed to repel the virus. ”
The district demanded that all students and staff be tested for Covid before returning to personal activities, and distributed thousands of test kits to students since Friday.
Some students had problems with the Daily Pass system, which should give them access to their test results and get approval. The system crashed, creating chaos and long lines.
Dozens of UC and Cal State campuses have decided to retire to distance learning amid the current Omicron rise. At least half a dozen districts in Northern California have also returned to distance learning.
LA Unified maintains the highest Covid-19 safety standards in any public school district in the country, including weekly testing of all staff and students, universal indoor and outdoor masking, extensive disinfection efforts, frequent hand washing, upgraded air filtration systems, physical distancing as much as possible and collaboration with health partners, ”said Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly on Tuesday.
City News Service contributed to this report.