LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In a policy shift, the Los Angeles Unified School District on Thursday announced it will require all students and district employees returning to in-person activities for the upcoming academic year to undergo "baseline and ongoing weekly COVID-testing,'' regardless of their vaccination status.
The district had previously required such testing only for those who are unvaccinated.
"This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health,'' LAUSD Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly wrote in a message to the district community. "Baseline testing begins on Monday, August 2.''
Details on the testing program are available online at achieve.lausd.net/covidtestingappt.
The policy change comes amid rising COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County and beyond, with the surge largely blamed on a highly infectious Delta variant of the virus. Although health officials have insisted that current vaccines provide strong protection against COVID and the Delta variant, they do not completely prevent vaccinated people from becoming infected. They do largely prevent vaccinated people from becoming severely ill or dying.
In her message, Reilly said the district is "closely monitoring evolving health conditions and adapting our response in preparation for our full return to in-person learning on August 16.''
"Los Angeles Unified continues to collaborate with our health partners at the county and state levels, as well as our panel of medical experts and university partners and we review updates to county, state, and federal guidance on a daily basis,'' she wrote.
Parents who do not wish to send their children to campus must opt out of in-person learning by Friday. However, the district's remote learning plan will be slightly different this year.
Remote classes may not be taught by teachers from their current campus. Instead, students will be part of an independent study program. Additionally, students who choose online classes may not be able to participate in extracurricular activities.
Switching between online and in-person instruction won't be easy LAUSD is asking students to commit to a full semester.
City News Service contributed to this report.