About 10% of asymptomatic children brought to L.A.-area campuses to get tested for the coronavirus over the past week were positive, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday.
“The most recent data from our testing program is alarming,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in prepared remarks.
The district has tested more than 250,000 school staffers, students and their families under a free program announced just before the school year began virtually in August, Beutner said.
Among the adults who were tested the past week, 5% of those who did not report any COVID-19 symptoms or exposure tested positive, Beutner said.
The district has also found that families with lower incomes were less likely to bring children to school for testing.
LAUSD has about 700,000 students and 75,000 employees.
“It’s clear we’re a long way from reopening schools with the level of virus this high,” Beutner said. “To put this in context, the seven-day daily average of new COVID cases is about 14,000 in the Los Angeles area. That number will need to drop to about 700 to 800 and stay there for the better part of a month before schools can consider reopening.”
LAUSD’s next semester will remain online-only when instruction begins on Jan. 12. The district previously announced that given the challenges, teachers were not going to fail students during the first semester. Students will have until the end of next month to make up assignments and improve their grades, Beutner said Monday.
“Students who aren’t able to raise their grades in January will be able to take part in credit recovery programs later in the school year,” he said.
Beutner also announced that the district’s efforts to help feed students and their families will continue Monday through Wednesday during the school break over the next two weeks, with extra meals offered on Wednesdays.
He urged those who want to help to visit lastudentsmostinneed.org or text NEED to 76278.
LAUSD schools have been shut down since March. In September, L.A. County allowed schools to offer in-person services for students with particular needs, but a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the region prompted LAUSD to impose a hard shutdown of campuses in early December. That affected about 4,000 K-12 students, including athletes who were participating in outdoor conditioning.
“In effect, the front door of the school has a COVID-19 lock on it,” Beutner said Monday. “And schools don’t have the key to the lock, local and state health authorities do. It’s going to take leadership at all levels, both state and local, to get this under control.”