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LBUSD Will Leave 90% Of Unvaccinated Students (Includes All Those Under Age 12) Untested For COVID-19 Each Week



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(Sept. 23, 2021, 8:40 p.m.) -- LBUSD management has announced that it will leave 90% of its unvaccinated students -- including those under age 12 who aren't eligible for vaccination yet -- untested for COVID-19 each week. The action effectively puts 90% of LBUSD elementary school children in indoor classrooms among other children who are unvaccinated and untested each week.

"The strategy of testing a representative sample will allow us to gather reliable data while minimizing the burden of testing among students and schools," wrote Superintendent Jill Baker, Ed.D in an announcement letter to LBUSD's community. "This approach to testing fits within the national Centers for Disease Controlís guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools."

But LBUSD's policy contrasts with the L.A. Unified School District that requires weekly COVID-19 tests for its enrolled students. LAUSD's COVID-19 webpage states: "Los Angeles Unified is providing COVID testing for all students and staff. All students and employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, returning for in-person instruction must participate in ongoing weekly COVID testing."

Last week, LBUSD said it would announce its testing policy (after initially requiring tests only for the first three weeks after reopening schools on Aug. 31) after conferring with health officials. It then announced a one week "pause" and its Sept. 23 announcement cites no local health officials by name.

LBUSD management says it will implement the following policies:

Randomized Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing of Students

During the first three weeks of school, we tested as many unvaccinated students as possible. We have administered more than 60,000 tests, resulting in a low positivity rate of well under 1%. In fact, our weekly positivity rate decreased each week for the first three weeks of school. Again, this is a testament to the diligence of students, families and school staff in following health and safety measures.

Starting next week, we will implement weekly testing of 10% of each schoolís unvaccinated student population. As with our prior testing, we will use the same painless, self-administered nasal swab procedure that students have been using since we reopened in March. The District will generate randomized lists of these students on a weekly basis using an automated, unbiased system. The strategy of testing a representative sample will allow us to gather reliable data while minimizing the burden of testing among students and schools. This approach to testing fits within the national Centers for Disease Controlís guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools.

Modified Home Quarantine

Modified quarantine is a way to allow students who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 to attend in-person learning. Scientific research and experience from around the nation demonstrate that when both parties are wearing face masks during the time of a potential school-based exposure to COVID-19, in-school transmission is unlikely, and students can safely continue in-person learning as long as certain precautions are taken.

During modified quarantine, students will need to refrain from extracurricular activities, including sports, and activities within the community setting. Testing during modified quarantine provides an additional layer of safety and monitoring.

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What happens when a child is considered potentially exposed or considered to be a close contact?

Children who are fully vaccinated may continue to attend school in-person while watching for symptoms for 14 days. If a child is not fully vaccinated, and both the exposed child and the infected person were wearing masks in a supervised school setting, the exposed child can still attend school in-person if they:

  • Remain symptom free
  • Continue to wear a mask
  • Get tested twice within a week; once right after the parent receives exposure notification, and again three days later
  • Do not participate in extracurricular or community activities, such as sports, until their modified quarantine ends

Modified quarantine, when needed, along with randomized, asymptomatic testing of students are just two of many continuing health and safety measures, including vaccinations for those eligible, masking, optimized ventilation, home screening for symptoms, hand hygiene and distancing to the extent possible...

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None of LBUSD's policy setting elected School Board members questioned the initial three week limit when management announced it in August. At its Sept. 14 meeting, LBUSD School Board members didn't pursue the issue when Superintendent Baker indicated management would announce the future of COVID 19 testing in the coming week. When that week arrived, LBUSD announced its "pause," which has now morphed into no testing for 90% of unvaccinated students each week.

As of Sept. 23 at 8:20 p.m., LBUSD's COVID 19 dashboard indicates 559 confirmed COVID-19 cases during the 2021-22 school year to date among 556 students, 37 employees, and 1 vendor/visitor. (The numbers for each LBUSD school can be selected from a pull down menu on the dashboard.)

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Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.


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