LAUSD students to start school year without mask mandate
Los Angeles Unified announced it will not require students to wear masks this school year but maintains that they are strongly recommended. The decision follows Los Angeles County Public Health’s decision to delay its indoor mask mandate as Covid-19 case rates and hospitalizations began to slow.
“We’re very happy over the fact that after a significant increase in Covid cases in our community, there has been a plateau and now a significant decrease in the cases in our community,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at a news conference last week. “That bodes well for a smooth reopening of schools on Aug. 15.”
This comes as the district is relaxing its Covid-19 protocols for the upcoming school year. Students will no longer be required to test weekly. Rather, only those exhibiting symptoms and those who are in close contact with someone who tests positive will be required to test using an at-home antigen test. The district is, however, distributing at-home antigen tests to students and staff to use within 48 hours of the first day of school and will distribute another batch to students to test again before the second week.
Students will also no longer be required to use the QR code generated by the Daily Pass system each day to enter school sites. However, the Daily Pass system will still be used for health screening questions, to keep track of positive tests, to notify close contacts and to upload vaccination records.
As LAUSD rolls back Covid-19 requirements, it is also investing more in sanitation and ventilation efforts. The district is planning to disinfect high-touch surfaces twice a day and have HVAC systems operating 24/7. It is also investing in additional custodial support, tools and supplies to ensure Covid-19 safety, including an annual investment of $20 million to maintain upgraded air filtration systems.
According to Carvalho, the district has an excess of 2 million antigen tests that will be available throughout the year for those who request them, along with surgical masks. Students who do not exhibit Covid-19 symptoms will not be required to quarantine, despite being in close contact with someone who tests positive. Those who do test positive may return to school on day five if they are asymptomatic and are encouraged to continue wearing a mask for 10 days following exhibition of symptoms or a positive test.