The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Thursday that it will require all students and employees returning for in-person learning to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.
The district is the second-largest school district in the country.
What are the details?
On Thursday, KTLA-TV reported that all returning students and employees will be subjected to ongoing, weekly COVID-19 testing whether or not they have been vaccinated.
In a statement, Interim Superintendent Megan K. Kelly said, "This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health."
Baseline testing for students returning to campus begins Monday, she added, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The district previously stated that fully vaccinated students and employees would not be required to test for the coronavirus, the outlet reported, but rescinded the plan earlier this month.
"In addition to regular testing, safety measures will include: masking for all students, staff, and visitors; maximizing physical distancing as much as possible; continuing comprehensive sanitizing efforts, including frequent hand-washing; upgraded air filtration systems; and collaborating with health partners and agencies to support free COVID-19 vaccination," the statement added.
The district's statement continued, "Ultimately, the greatest protection against COVID and the Delta variant is vaccination. We encourage everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated."
The district's website instructed students and employees on how to schedule their weekly, ongoing COVID-19 tests.
The site told users:
Los Angeles Unified is providing COVID testing for all students and staff. All students and employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, returning for in-person instruction must participate in baseline and ongoing weekly COVID testing. This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Baseline testing begins on Monday, August 2. In addition to these sites, mobile COVID-19 testing teams will be visiting your local school each week of baseline testing. Contact your school's principal for information about dates. Tests are free, quick, easy, and your personal information will remain confidential!
Of the testing process, the site added:
Once you make an appointment, you will receive a confirmation email with appointment details. Testing will take place at an LA Unified site. Your confidential test result will be emailed to you following the test. All the information will be kept in a separate, secure database and only shared with the appropriate scientists, administrators and health authorities.
Following the announcement, teachers union President Cecily Myart-Cruz said, "Vaccines are like seatbelts: necessary but not invincible. Just like we need seatbelts, airbags, and speed limits, we need masks, ventilation, and testing to keep school communities safe."
Earlier this month, Deadline reported that the state of California would require masking in all school settings.
Families, the Times reports, have the option of choosing distance learning over in-person learning, but officials state that the "best learning takes place in a classroom."
Families have until Friday to opt into online distance learning. Those who do not will automatically be assigned to learn in person.
The Los Angeles Unified School District's fall semester begins Aug. 16 with in-person instruction.