LAUSD to loosen COVID requirements on weekly testing, masking

Local news

The Los Angeles Unified School District is planning to loosen some of its COVID-19 requirements on masking, quarantine and testing for students in the spring semester.

When children return to classes after the winter break, weekly testing will only be required for unvaccinated students, according to a superintendent’s report shared during a Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

LAUSD has had rules stricter than in much of the state, with all students and staff required to get tested weekly— regardless of vaccination status.

District officials said the change will mean less disruption to classrooms, quicker testing visits, a reduced workload for contact tracing and more incentives for students to get vaccinated.

Not requiring everyone to get tested will also significantly decrease testing costs, LAUSD said.

The report explains that transmission is low for those under age 12, and older students will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by next semester.

Also, since the district found low rates of secondary infections for close contacts of positive cases when masks were worn, unvaccinated students will be eligible for “modified quarantine.”

That means more students will be able to stay in school after an exposure.

Another change: Outdoor masking will only be required for schools where fewer than 85% of students are fully vaccinated.

Officials said this will allow all high schools, many middle schools and some elementary to lift outdoor masking requirements next semester.

Meanwhile, indoor masking will continue to be required for everyone at all schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Students aged 5 to 11 will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine at LAUSD sites, but the district is still not requiring children in that age group to get the shots, according to Tuesday’s report.

Students aged 12 and older at LAUSD are subject to vaccination requirements.

Those who don’t get exemptions will have to receive a first dose no later than Nov. 21 and a second dose no later than Dec. 19 to resume in-person learning in January.

Beginning Jan. 10, 2022, students who do not submit proof of vaccination won’t be allowed on school campuses. They will be referred to the district’s independent study program, unless an exemption or conditional admissions apply.

Students on sports teams and those participating in other in-person extracurricular activities had an earlier deadline. After Oct. 31, those without proof of vaccination were no longer allowed to participate in the activities.

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