LAUSD has announced new district-wide COVID-19 policies that will take effect on January 10.
Last month, LAUSD Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly released a statement saying that due to the increase in the district vaccination rate, LAUSD will introduce new, more eased COVID-19 policies that will be enforced starting at the beginning of the next semester.
According to the statement, vaccinated students will no longer be required to get tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Only unvaccinated students who are conditionally admitted or medically exempt will be required to undergo regular testing.
Outdoor masking will no longer be obligatory for the schools whose student body is at least 85% fully vaccinated. Indoor masking will still be required at all times for all individuals throughout the district regardless of the vaccination rate.
According to David Galley, the dean of students, 95% of Venice students are currently fully vaccinated.
“I think we have maybe 150 students that won’t be coming back next semester at the most, it might be even less by the time it comes around,” he said. “So I would say at least 95% of the students currently on campus are fully vaccinated.”
Principal Cynthia Headrick said that fully vaccinated students who are close contacts to positive cases will not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic.
“My understanding is that the same rules for close contact will exist as they do now,” she said. “So if you’re in close contact with someone at school that has COVID-19, as long as you’re vaccinated, you just need to monitor your symptoms.”
Headrick added that she believes that there won’t be an increase in COVID-19 cases on campus without regular testing.
“Other high schools, not in LAUSD, have not been testing weekly and they have not had serious outbreaks in their schools,” she said. “We haven’t had any cases where students have transmitted it in the classroom.
“We’ve had kids get tested on, let’s say, a Wednesday, and didn’t get the results until Saturday. They were in class Thursday and Friday, and we didn’t have any occasions where the virus was transmitted.”
In the statement, LAUSD added that they will continue to collaborate with their health partners at the county and state levels, as well as their panel of medical experts and university partners.
In case of an increase in COVID-19 cases amongst members of the community, the district may adjust the policies accordingly.
Galley said that it is uncertain if the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, will pose a threat to health and safety on campus.
“I think time will tell,” he said. “I don’t think we have enough data on Omicron.”
In addition, LAUSD will continue providing access to COVID-19 vaccines to all students and employees.
Baseline testing for all unvaccinated students will take place during the first week of the spring semester.
Senior Amelia Schutze said she feels conflicted about the new COVID-19 policies.
“I think it’s a big transition since we’ve been pretty strict about COVID-19 rules so far,” she said. “But I don’t think I can fully say anything until I experience it.”