I wanted to communicate with you the actions taken last night by the Governing Board in terms of our Covid-19 health protocols from now until February 6, 2022.
Weekly Covid-19 Testing Requirements:
All students and staff will be required to take a Covid-19 rapid antigen test each week and test negative in order to return to school the following week. The testing dates will be: Monday, January 17; Sunday, January 23; Sunday, January 30; and Sunday, February 6. By 9:00 p.m. on each of the testing days, families should complete the testing attestation form for each child in the family using the link sent to them by the school principal and staff should complete the attestation document using the link sent to them by Chief Technology Officer, Jamie Lewsadder.
Tests for 1/17 and 1/23 will be distributed to students on Friday, January 14. Tests for 1/30 and 2/6 will be distributed to students on Friday, January 28, 2022. Please only use these tests for the required weekly testing and attestation to return to school the following week. Also, please read and use the directions included with the testing kits. We currently have two vendors for tests and the directions for each are slightly different.
Positive Cases at School - Close Contacts “Test at School to Stay at School”:
Using guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, LCUSD has adopted a “Test at School to Stay at School Policy.” All positive cases identified at school during the week will be sent home to isolate. Close contacts of a positive case will be tested at school to stay in school. At the elementary schools, the entire class of a positive case will test at school. At LCHS 7-12, close contacts in periods 0-6 will be identified by seating charts and will be tested. Students with negative Covid-19 test results will be allowed to stay in school. Close contact testing to remain in school is required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students under these protocols (through February 6, 2022).
Details on isolation requirements for positive cases will be communicated to families by the LCUSD Covid Compliance Team. Students identified as close contacts whose families had previously opted them out of Covid-19 surveillance testing will be contacted when we “test at school to stay in school.” Those families may consent to testing, come to school and test their child themselves, or come to school to pick up their child for the quarantine period. Details on quarantine will be provided to families on an as needed basis by the LCUSD Covid Compliance Team.
During this period, masking of students and staff is required indoors and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. Staff are required to wear surgical, N95, or KN95 grade masks. Students are strongly recommended to wear improved masks (non-cloth and non-woven (surgical grade), N95, or KN95, well fitted, with a nose wire).
Covid-19 Test Positivity Rate Improvements:
We hope these stricter protocols will be short in duration. Since our PCR molecular testing on January 3 and 4, where LCUSD experienced a test positivity rate of approximately 10%, we have been able to reduce that test positivity rate to under 5%. Explanations for the reduced test positivity rate data include: a) screening out positive cases to allow a safer environment with reduced exposures; b) some positive tests not being reported; c) the change to at-home rapid antigen tests which do not identify past infections (false positives); d) some false negatives due to testing errors, i.e. insufficient samples or solution time errors, etc.
LCUSD’s current absence rate (under 7%) is also demonstrating that we are effectively managing infection transmission. We will continue to monitor all of the testing and infection related data at our disposal and we will adjust our protocols as necessary and in response to the changing Los Angeles County Department of Public Health protocols and orders. At last evening’s Governing Board meeting, the Board of Education committed to reducing (ideally) or extending (if necessary) the period of these protocols in response to the data. We all hope that our Covid-19 infection metrics continue to improve and that we are able to reduce these health protocol requirements as soon as possible.
To our entire LCUSD Community, my sincerest thanks for your patience and resolve in dealing and complying with the testing and health protocols during the Omicron surge in order to keep our schools open and our students and staff healthy and safe. LCUSD is the absolute finest community - demonstrating its resilience, community spirit, and commitment to educational excellence by doing what it takes to successfully slow the Omicron spread and keep our wonderful students and staff safe and in school. I am extremely grateful.