LOS ANGELES, CA — Warning that "this crisis is far from over," and that Los Angeles Unified schools probably won't reopen this year, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner touted the COVID-19 testing system created by district officials.
LAUSD adopted most ambitious testing system of any school system nationwide in hopes that it will allow more than 600,000 students and staffers to return to the classroom.
"We continue to put in place plans to have students back in schools as soon as health conditions in the area allow," Beutner said. "Unfortunately, the overall level of the virus is still too high."
School officials plan to use the tests to track the virus and separate people who have contracted it from the general school population, said Beutner. He touted the district's "new standard " in public education with its system of testing for the virus at schools. The district will begin offering tests to all staff and students when campuses reopen. But he did not shed light on when that would happen. Beutner said last week that schools with likely not open until next year.
When schools do reopen, students and staff will continue with periodic testing, and families will receive mobile notices from principals or immediate supervisors for staff that they need to be tested.
"Schools have long been on the frontlines of dealing with broader societal issues, and that has never been more true that during this crisis," Beutner said, adding that LAUSD needs federal funding to accomplish all of its goals of meeting the safety of the students.
The superintendent also said the district is working to help students who are applying for college amid the pandemic.
He said it was unfortunate that the pandemic response has been divisive among people who are trying to provide education for their students as well as stay safe.
"Some officials contend that the extraordinary emergency actions taken by school districts from providing millions of free meals to the families they serve to buying computers providing computers for students to creating their own COVID-testing programs are somehow options -- they aren't," Beutner said.
"This crisis is far from over. It's been a long stretch, and while we may grow accustomed to hearing about so many challenges still lie, for schools, figuring out how to bring students back to schools and keeping them there in the safest way possible, will be our toughest challenge yet," Beutner said.
City News Service