Officials announced Tuesday that more than 78,000 coronavirus cases were discovered in Los Angeles Unified Schools District students and staff before the start to the spring semester.
On the first day of the new semester, 30% of LAUSD students were absent.
Due to the record-breaking COVID-19 spike fueled by the Omicron variant, the district mandated coronavirus screening for all staff and students. Baseline testing became available on Jan. 3, with the district also later handing out rapid at-home COVID-19 tests.
According to the CDC, over tens of thousand of students and staff have tested positive in the years since. 15% of students and 17% were positive. Data from LAUSD.
Despite the case numbers, campuses in the nation’s second-largest school district welcomed hundreds of thousands of students back from the winter break on Tuesday.
“Our positivity rate remains lower than the overall county positivity rate as a result of our heightened safety measures and the continued partnership of families and employees,”In announcing the case numbers, the district stated.
The countywide coronavirus positivity rates were at 21%. There were 34,827 new cases on Tuesday according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
On Tuesday morning, there were long lines outside of many schools. Students arrived with backpacks and negative COVID-19 results.
Eric Garcetti, L.A. Mayor of Sylmar, stressed Tuesday at a Sylmar middle-school that it is important to keep children at school.
“This is the most important thing,” Garcetti said. “All of our efforts need to go to ensure that our kids are in school, and can stay in school, so that parents can work and we don’t go back to where we were a year ago.”
According to preliminary data, nearly 70% of LAUSD students attended their first day back. However, the district noted that this number could be changing.
According to the survey, about 2,000 teachers were absent on the first day. However, substitutes and non-school staff certified in their place covered for them. LAUSD.
“We have an amazing sub staff that we utilize all the time,”Megan K. Reilly, L.A. Unified Interim Superintendent, said. “A lot of our alumni are kind of like coming back to help out during this period.”
At some points, long lines formed due to technical issues with the district’s health screening system, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The system Daily PassThis is where students upload their negative coronavirus results to be allowed on campus. It was very hectic during the morning rush.
However, not all students uploaded their results to Daily Pass. According to LAUSD data, 88% students had their Daily Pass results uploaded by the end of the first school day.
District staff and students were required to return to COVID-19 safety precautions, such as wearing masks outdoors.
“L.A. Unified is prepared for this,” L.A. School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said. “We’ve had the safest standards in the nation for over a year.”
KTLA was told by some parents that they were worried about bringing their children to school during the coronavirus epidemic.
“I was hoping for two more weeks off, just to be safe,“ Parent Loja Moses said.
Many parents noted that their children had been eager to return to their classrooms, and wouldn’t want to return to remote learning.
“My kids have been anxious to come back,” parent Claudia Chacon said. “They want to see their friends, they want to come back to the environment.”