When students and teachers go back to school on Monday, Aug. 15, they’ll find more relaxed requirements to address Covid-19 and its variants. There won’t be lines to enter the campus as students won’t be required to go through the “Daily Pass” web app system as they had before.
The system won’t be used for a daily health check screening, but it will still be used to allow students to upload their results if they’ve tested positive and it can also be used to upload their vaccination records. The system can also be used to notify those who may have come into close contact with a student who has tested positive.
LAUSD will no longer require weekly testing of students and indoor masking won’t be mandated although it is strongly recommended.
Children Do Need Vaccination
While requirements are eased, the latest variants of Covid-19 variants are reported to be more contagious and LA County Public Health is urging caution and repeating their message to vaccinate and boost. There continues to be an ongoing myth that began at the start of the pandemic that maintains that children are more immune to the virus. LA County Public Health reports more than 13 thousand children have tested positive over the last 30-day period ending on August 6. Yet, currently, only 35% of school-age children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated. At the same time, the district’s COVID vaccination requirement for students and staff has been postponed until next year. This move was made to be in sync with the state requirements but may have not considered the possible growth of cases of Covid-19 cases among school-aged children.
Parents should be aware that not all children attending school are vaccinated or fully vaccinated.
Schools in LAUSD will utilize “response testing” which will mean:
● Testing will only be required for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or those who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive.
● Symptomatic students and close contacts will be provided with an at-home rapid antigen test by their school.
● Students who become symptomatic or ill while at school are required to wear a mask while being treated at the health office and waiting to be picked up by a parent/guardian. School administrators will provide a rapid antigen test kit for the symptomatic student to take home.
● Students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate at home for at least five days. They can leave isolation on day six, assuming their symptoms are improving, and they test negative for the virus and remain fever free for 24 hours. Students who are absent may have homework sent home for them.
Distance and Virtual Learning Is Still Available
There are still families who are nervous about sending their children back to their school in a traditional classroom. For them, LAUSD will continue to accommodate their needs by assigning them to virtual schools.
“While the Los Angeles Unified School District believes in-person learning is generally best for most students, some families may want or need other options,” acknowledged Shannon Haber, LAUSD spokesperson. There will be six new Virtual Academy Schools for the 2022-2023 school year.
“The schools will explore and expand independent study in a broader way using technology and promoting creativity. The Virtual Academy Schools will provide families with comprehensive TK-12th grade instructional program options with each school focusing on a theme – International Studies and World Languages, Computer Science, Business and Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Public Service, STEAM, and Arts and Entertainment,” explained Haber.
The daily schedule for the online independent study programs includes at least three hours of daily synchronous instruction.
“Students will also have an opportunity for weekly conferences with their teachers to get updates on academic progress and request additional support, such as tutoring. The Virtual Academics will also be adopting the FlexPoint online K-12 curriculum – a comprehensive program that includes University of California-approved high school courses and College Board-approved AP courses, along with a variety of elective course offerings.” said Haber.
Information about LAUSD’s new Virtual Academies can be found online at https://achieve.lausd.net/VirtualAcademy
If parents have questions they can call their school site or the Family Help Desk at (213) 443-1300.