LAUSD Superintendent Briefs Plan for COVID-19 Testing at Schools


Courtesy of LAUSD

LAUSD Superintendent, Austin Beautner at one of the many COVID-19 testing centers. The closest testing site to Venice High is Grand View Elementary and Palms Middle School.

Kymia Freeman, Editor-in-Chief

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After months of closure, signs are pointing towards testing measures that may help reopen Los Angeles Unified schools.

In reaction to an update from LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner earlier this month about widespread COVID-19 testing, Principal Gabriel Griego said “the testing program is now underway and it’s time for [Venice] to be tested,” in a letter to parents on Oct. 12.

Earlier this month, Beutner addressed concerns that may impact members of the LAUSD community, as well as how the district will keep communities safe preceding students’ return to schools throughout the city. 

Beautner’s message also provided a detailed description of how students, faculty, staff, and immediate members of the school community will need to receive COVID testing before their re-entry into a school facility.

Beautner wrote that the free, district-provided COVID-19 test, whether it be a nasal swab or sputum test, should “take less than 10 minutes, start to finish.”

Once tested, one is able to check the district’s new Daily Pass App within 24-36 hours to receive their test results. 

Given a negative test result, students, faculty, and staff will be “admit[ted] to a school campus or district facility,” Beutner said. Upon a positive test result, the “individual will be referred to the appropriate health authorities for care.”

Principal Griego detailed how this will work at Venice, saying “parents [should] schedule an appointment for an initial test now,” and plan to have their students “take a further, back-to-school, baseline test” immediately prior to the reopening of schools.

At Venice, the issue of COVID treatment and testing, especially concerning a potential vaccine, has become an increasingly controversial one. 

Social studies teacher Reina Roberts hosts discussions in her Advisory classes, allowing students to express their opinions on a variety of topics.

“Given that students tend to be really shy on Zoom, these discussions are a way to inspire deeper engagement,” she said. “With these discussions, I am able to mix the interaction that exists in the classroom while not having to force people to show themselves.” 

Most interestingly, a discussion from two weeks ago prompted students to think about their likelihood of taking a COVID vaccine should it become available before the end of the year. 

In the discussion, senior Tinsae Yimer was one of the only students inclined to take a COVID vaccine this early in the virus’s development, saying that she would take the vaccine so that “it can lower the chances of getting COVID in the future.”

Additionally, Yimer says that she thinks the district testing plan is “great, but incomplete.” 

“I am happy that the district is proposing ideas such as free personal protective equipment, upgraded N-95 air conditioners, and the Daily Pass App, and frequent testing, but what about transportation, concrete reopening information, and just where the money for this is coming from?” she said.

The district’s testing plan, along with the Grab-n-Go Food initiative, are doing the work to maintain a successful and healthy school environment. Though there is no official word on the timeline for school reopenings, this new plan can only help in expediting that process.