LAUSD Northeast District provides update on Covid protocols for school children K-12

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Several members of the LAUSD Northeast District administration spoke during a presentation regarding updated protocols for children that returned to school last week from the holiday break. The presentation covered topics ranging from testing policy, locations and testing availability and changes to quarantine procedures.

The presentation began addressing the abrupt safety pivot of the district regarding having every student test before returning to LAUSD schools after the holiday break due the spike in Covid cases seen in and around LA County. Local Northeast District Superintendent Andres E. Chait expressed his gratitude for the patience of parents who had to sit in long lines for mobile testing. “We believe the changes to the baseline testing allows for the safest return possible,” said Chait. “Things will get smoother and more orderly as we refine the process, but we thank you all for your patience.” LAUSD administration also credited the Early Education Centers for providing good reference to what needed to be done for the safe return of K-12, as preschools had returned a week prior.

Northeast District Board President Kelly Gonez also spoke during the presentation about the changes to testing policies going forward. She noted that students will have to test weekly to attend school, and a negative is required to be let on to campus. Gonez assured the attendees to the meeting that despite the spike in Covid cases, that the schools and parents had done a good job making things as safe as possible. “90 percent of our students ages 12 and up are vaccinated,” said Gonez. “We can assure you that our schools are some of the safest places your kids can be.” Gonez also provided information on who the next Superintendent of the District would be. Alberto Carvalho, who is currently finishing up his role as the current Superintendent of the Miami Dade-County Superintendent is expected to take over the role in March.

Rhonda Sparks, the Operations Coordinator for the Northeast District was next to speak. She covered the new protocols for quarantine for students who have tested positive or are deemed close contacts to positive covid cases. The LAUSD has introduced modified quarantine, which will allow asymptomaticTK-12 students and asymptomatic booster eligible employees who were exposed to positive cases to remain in the school setting to continue in-person activities. The only students that the modified quarantine rules do not apply to are Early Education students who are currently not eligible to be vaccinated. They must stay home and quarantine after exposure has occurred. Sparks also outlined what students who enter modified quarantine must do to remain on campus and what must happen to exit modified quarantine status. Some of the conditions include that the students must remain asymptomatic, wear upgraded masks and cannot participate in extracurricular activities. Sparks also announced that positive students can be released from quarantine after 5 days if they are asymptomatic, have been fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication, and produce a negative antigen test taken on or after the fifth day of isolation.

There was also an update to quarantine exemptions, as students and staff members who are fully vaccinated, including a booster if eligible and individuals who have recovered from Covid-19 symptoms in the last 90 days do not need to quarantine if they have been in close contact of a positive case.

Sparks also provided an update to surgical mask requirements for on-campus procedures. All District employees must wear surgical type masks and may no longer wear a cloth mask by itself on a District site. While it is not mandatory for students, the district does recommend that students switch from cloth masks to well-fitting non-cloth masks with a nose wire. What has not changed is the requirement of all individuals who are on site to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

The presentation also provided helpful information for where parents and staff can pick up home testing supplies to be able to test safely without having to go to testing sites and wait in lines.

Additional topics that were included in the meeting covered the improvements being made to Virtual Academies for families who would prefer for their children to continue school from home. The meeting also provided information on upcoming virtual conferences that will feature workshops for LAUSD parents.

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