LAUSD Updates COVID-19 Protocol—Enforcing Stricter Mask Policy


Polina Asaulyuk, News Editor

LAUSD now requires all students to wear surgical-style masks amid rising concerns over the district-wide surge in COVID-19 cases and the potential spread of the Omicron variant. 

Last month, LAUSD interim superintendent Megan K. Reilly released a statement saying that due to increased concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant across Los Angeles County, the district has updated its COVID-19 protocol. 

The new protocol that took effect last Monday includes an updated and more strict mask policy that now requires all students to wear surgical-style masks while at school. 

All students entering campus must wear a non-cloth mask with a nose-wire and remain masked at all times, including when they are outdoors. 

The updated protocol extends to sports, as all student athletes are obligated to remain masked at all times while participating in athletics. 

According to Venice High’s magnet coordinator, Dr. Christopher Wolf, the main goal of LAUSD’s updated mask mandate is to combat the spread of Omicron—a COVID-19 variant that is more likely to be transmitted through cloth masks. 

“Based on what I understand from the current science, Omicron has been shown to be minimally affected by cloth masks, which is why there was the request from LAUSD to upgrade to surgical quality for staff and students, because that’s a safer grade,” he said. 

Wolf also said that LAUSD provides all of its schools with enough surgical masks to ensure that the schools are able to accommodate the student body in need of masks. 

“The district has provided plenty of surgical grade masks,” said Wolf. “There are plenty available if a student or teacher asked for them.”

Junior Amelia Frangiyyeh said that she doesn’t mind the updated mask policies and will happily comply in order to do her part in keeping the school COVID-19 free. 

“If wearing these masks will potentially limit the rise in cases, and allow for in person learning, and the continuation of sports and extracurricular activities, I will wear the surgical masks without complaints,” she said. 

Frangiyyeh added that she isn’t sure about the effectiveness of the updated mask mandate, but she is staying hopeful. 

“Especially with the rise of cases after winter break, I can’t say for sure if the masks will reduce the spread of COVID-19, but I can hope,” she said. 

In addition, the updated COVID-19 protocol now requires all extracurricular activities to be held outside of classrooms and maintain a sign-in sheet for contact tracing purposes. 

Weekly COVID-19 testing will continue through this month and the same rules will apply to close contacts as prior to last week. 

Asymptomatic students who are close contacts will remain on campus. Students that develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated immediately and follow LAUSD’s isolation protocol.