Nearly a third of Los Angeles elementary school students were absent Tuesday on their first day back from winter vacation, officials said, as the district requires each child to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.
The 68.8 percent of students at the Los Angeles Unified School District who reached the classroom were forced to stand in long queues as school officials made sure each child had evidence of a negative coronavirus test before entering. in the building.
By Tuesday, there was 15 percent COVID-19 positivity among employees and 17 percent for students.
LAUSD will continue to test students and staff weekly until January, as Omicron cases continue to rise in Los Angeles County.
Students who showed up at the school Tuesday without a negative result were tested on the spot.
The district had handed out about 300,000 antigen tests to take home in preparation for the spring classes, said LAUSD board member Tanya Ortiz Franklin. An additional 150,000 are expected to be distributed in the coming days.
Meanwhile, LAUSD will also continue to provide PCR testing to students at the 12 district locations throughout LA County.
While on Tuesday there were some problems loading and accessing information from the district’s Daily Pass system, Ortiz told Franklin that postal school officials were ready to handle any first-day sniff.
“There were some flaws in the Daily Pass system, which also happened last semester, but we always plan for unforeseen events,” Franklin said.
“Our schools printed out the list of children who were approved to enter campus. It took a little longer than we would have liked, but we had expected it.”
Children who have tested positive and are to be quarantined for at least five days communicate with teachers and participate in teaching online.
On Monday, teachers prepared assignments and lesson plans for students who were to start their first day of school virtually.
Franklin told the Post that teacher shortages were already a problem before the pandemic, but with the recent COVID increase, the district is doing what it can to ensure classes are staffed. Some classrooms may need to mix students from different classes, she said.
“When close to 15 percent of our staff were positive out this week, we dispatched people from the central office and asked local school districts if they had a teaching ID, if they could cover a class,” Ortiz Franklin said.
“Students can be spread out in another classroom, or a teacher will cover a class during their conference period. So instead of the teacher judging papers or planning, they have to step in and substitute. There is a real team spirit, and I I mean, it’s not just because of the pandemic, but it’s really taught us that we’re all in this together. “
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