LAUSD providing free at-home COVID test kits as students set to return from winter break

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Unified School District is offering free at-home COVID-19 test kits in an effort to help families meet the district's testing requirements as the first day of the new semester approaches.

The Eagle Rock High School campus, which has been a busy COVID-19 testing site this week, on Friday was among the many LAUSD locations distributing the at-home kits.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has faced criticism for failing to deliver on his promise to provide rapid, at-home tests to all of the state's students and school staff before classrooms reopened after winter break. Millions of test kits were sent to families before and during winter break but millions more were not, raising concerns about public school safety now amid soaring rates of COVID-19 cases.

California schools chief Tony Thurmond on Wednesday called the delay "disappointing."

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said logistical problems and bad weather in Southern California had contributed to the problem but said some 6.2 million tests had been delivered to county offices of education, with more tests going out this week.

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Los Angeles County Thursday reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases ever recorded for a single day in the region.

On Tuesday, Newsom's office tweeted: "More tests are en route for California's students!" The tweet included a brief video clip that showed pallets stacked with boxes that the governor's office said were full of test kits inside a warehouse. The kits would "immediately be sent to counties for distribution."

Despite the rapid spread of the virus, vaccinations are preventing serious illnesses, said Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, who indicated that the explosive spread could wane by next month.

"My hope is that, you know, by the time we get to February, we're on the downside of seeing that massive amount of community transmission," she said.

People concerned about exposure to the virus have jammed test sites and searched in vain for at-home rapid tests that are largely absent from store shelves.
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