LAUSD families line up for COVID testing as district prepares to welcome students back next week

All students and staff will have to show proof of a negative COVID test before they can return to campuses, LAUSD said.
PACOIMA, Calif. (KABC) -- Many students in the Los Angeles Unified School District are getting ready to go back to school next week after a long winter break, and as part of new safety regulations, they have to get tested for COVID-19 first.

Late last week, the county's department of public health notified school districts of new rules for schools resuming classes which includes getting tested for coronavirus.

Testing is required for all close contacts who are permitted to remain in school immediately after exposure, regardless of vaccination or booster status. Previously, they could return if they were fully vaccinated and did not have any symptoms.

According to an update issued by an LAUSD spokesperson Monday afternoon, all students and staff will have to show proof of a negative COVID test before they can return to campuses - regardless of vaccination status. In addition, the first day of school for students has been pushed back to Tuesday, Jan. 11.

The district says Monday will be a "pupil-free day'' for campus employees.

LAUSD's COVID testing centers reopened Monday with extended hours, offering tests by appointment and on a walk-in basis.

Need a list of LAUSD COVID testing sites? Click here.

Families were seen lining up Pacoima Middle School early Monday morning to get their children tested.

Parents who spoke with Eyewitness News say with the rise in cases across L.A. County, getting everyone in their homes tested is a priority.

"It is a little concerning just because the numbers have been rising," said parent Pilar Montalvo. "I know after three weeks, a lot of people have gone on vacation, they gathered ... so we don't know what we're going to see when we come back. We expect high numbers again."

The state is also making at-home COVID tests available to all students in California.

The health order, which applies to all public and private schools, also calls for masks to be worn in outside spaces where physical distancing is not possible.

Additionally, school staff will be required to wear a surgical grade or "upgraded" masks, as opposed to regular cloth ones. A majority of the roughly 80 K-12 schools across the county resumed classes.

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Despite the spike in COVID-19 cases, Burbank schools will welcome students back to classrooms Monday morning.

Students in the Burbank Unified School District were among those who returned to class Monday after the Board of Education decided not to delay reopening by one week.

The panel held a 3 -hour emergency meeting Sunday night to consider the delay.

Superintendent Matt Hill announced the decision on the district's Facebook page. "After a robust discussion, the Board of Education decided that schools remain open."

District administrators will consider changes in its COVID safety plan this week including enforcing a vaccine booster requirement for all employees by April 1.

The district has 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools and five alternative schools.

Those who showed up for class Monday said they believe they felt safe returning.

"I do have some concerns about the COVID variant being around... but I hope that everybody will try and stay safe," said Burbank High School student Genesis Hopson.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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