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Los Angeles Unified Shares Progress Update On COVID-19 Testing Program at Schools (09-15-20)

CONTACT:                                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shannon Haber, LAUSD, 213-393-1289                    September 15, 2020

Los Angeles Unified Shares Progress Update
On COVID-19 Testing Program at Schools

  • Los Angeles Unified will provide School COVID-19 Report Card with information about each school’s testing results, health surveys, and overall COVID-19 community incidence and prevalence 
  • Launched initial testing with 2,500 tests per day with plans to increase to tens of thousands of tests per day 
  • Majority of test results received overnight


LOS ANGELES (September 15, 2020) – The Los Angeles Unified School District today shared an update on its efforts to provide regular COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to school staff, students and their families at schools. Los Angeles Unified’s return-to-school plan has three critical components - state of the art health practices at schools, COVID-19 testing for students, staff and family members of students and staff who test positive or show symptoms, and the ability to notify and isolate members of the school community who may have come in contact with the virus.

“No other school district in the country has put together an effort like this. While unprecedented, it’s necessary and appropriate as we must do everything we can to protect the health and safety of all in the school community,” said Austin Beutner, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. “We’ll continue to provide the best possible education while students are online, and keep everyone informed on our efforts to bring students and teachers back to schools in the safest way possible.”

Recent progress includes the following:

  • Los Angeles Unified will provide COVID-19 Dashboards for a transparent look into testing within the district and at each school. All members of the Los Angeles Unified community will have access to:
    • COVID-19 test results summarized by community and school, including new and cumulative tests conducted, and positive and active cases to date;
    • Health survey information that includes self-reporting of active and cumulative symptoms or exposures to the virus
    • All testing information will be kept in a separate, secure database, and only shared with the appropriate scientists, administrators and health authorities.
  • Started a program to provide childcare for the children of Los Angeles Unified employees who are currently working at school sites. Approximately 3,000 children will be in small cohorts of no more than six, together with two adults. All are tested for the virus before they begin the program.
  • Will begin offering one-to-one tutoring to students who need it most. This will take place outside, with students and adults at a safe distance apart. All will be tested for the virus before they participate in the tutoring program.
  • In preparation for when it is safe and appropriate for students to return to schools, the following practices are in place:
    • Classrooms and facilities are electrostatically cleaned;
    • Air filtration systems have been upgraded with the equivalent of N-95 membranes;
    • Personal protective equipment is available to all individuals at a campus; and
    • Classrooms and facilities have been reconfigured to keep all at a school a safer distance apart
    • Plans for Hybrid Instruction which will keep students and teachers in small cohorts to limit the risk of spreading the virus. 
  • Formally launched Los Angeles Unified’s virus testing program, beginning with employees who are currently working at school sites and children of employees who are participating in the childcare program
    • Tested more than 5,000 individuals over two days last week;
    • The initial positive rate across these tests was approximately one-tenth of one percent (0.01%) as seven people tested positive for the virus; and
    • Los Angeles Unified has secured a unique net contract price for COVID-19 testing of $12 per test. This was achieved through Los Angeles Unified agreeing to handle point-of-collection scanning of samples and assist in delivery to SummerBio’s CLIA-certified lab. 
  • Next steps regarding testing:
    • Plan to provide testing for household members of students or staff who test positive for the virus or those who show symptoms; and
    • Schedule to reach testing levels of 5,000 people per day during the week of September 14th
    • Aim to test approximately 20,000 per day within the next few weeks, including students. 

About the Los Angeles Unified COVID-19 testing and tracing program

The Los Angeles Unified COVID-19 testing and tracing program has been created in a groundbreaking collaboration between the Los Angeles Unified School District, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Microsoft, two testing providers, and healthcare leaders Anthem Blue Cross, Cedars-Sinai, and Health Net. An advisory group which is helping to oversee the effort is co-chaired by Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. 

The program, which is operated by the school district, is providing tests for COVID-19 at schools. Los Angeles Unified is the first school district in the nation to provide such a program.