LAUSD conducts COVID testing at campuses and distributes at-home test kits as deadline looms

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With classes set to begin in two days, the Los Angeles Unified School District on Sunday hosted COVID-19 testing sites at multiple locations in an effort to help students meet the requirement of logging a negative test before returning to campuses.

The district is requiring all students and staff to be tested ahead of the re-start of classes. District staff are expected back on campuses Monday, with the start of classes pushed back to Tuesday.

The testing requirement appears to be paying dividends, with the baseline testing revealing a large number of infections. Interim Superintendent Megan Reilly told reporters during a distribution event at Johnnie Cochran Middle School that the district is reporting a roughly 13% positivity rate thus far, well above the rate from late last year.

While elevated, that rate is still below the county as a whole. As of Thursday, the county's overall testing-positivity rate was about 22%.

District officials mandated the testing ahead of spring classes to identify students and staff who may have picked up infections over the winter break -- possibly through family holiday gatherings.

To assist in the testing effort, the district on Friday began distributing take-home tests to students at dozens of its Grab & Go food distribution sites. The distribution effort continued through Saturday.

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The take-home tests are among roughly 6 million obtained by the state and distributed to education offices and districts across California in hopes of testing all students before they return to classes.

Students and employees can get tested at district sites, with appointments available online at achieve.lausd.net/covidtestingappt or by calling (213) 443-1300. Walk-up testing is also available at district sites.

Students and employees can also get tested at non-district sites, but they must upload results onto the district's Daily Pass system no later than Sunday.

Students and employees at LAUSD campuses and all other schools in the county will also be subject to stricter COVID safety protocols, which were announced on New Year's Eve by the county Department of Public Health.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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