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Students Must Test Negative to Return to School

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By Lookout Staff

April 15, 2022 -- Public school students in Santa Monica and Malibu must test negative and should wear a face mask when they return to school Monday, District officials said.

Students who test positive using the antigen test provided by the District should stay home, isolate and report the positive result to the school nurse, officials said.

The District also "strongly recommends that students and staff wear masks for two weeks or longer after spring break," said Superintendent Ben Drati, adding that parents should do the same.

"Even if staff or your student voluntarily stopped wearing a mask before break, we recommend they wear masks for two weeks after break," Drati wrote in an email to parents, students and staff.

"We know that students and families were traveling or gathering over break and returning to mask-wearing upon return is one way for us to reduce the risk of transmission."

The message was sent as COVID cases increase due to the spread of the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron, which has become the dominant strain in Los Angeles County and across the nation.

While not considered severe, the BA.2 subvariant is substantially more transmissible than BA.1 and better able to evade vaccines, early studies have shown.

Drati is urging students to "get vaccinated/boosted" and to "continue to participate in our weekly testing or bring in your proof of outside negative PCR test results."

"Our regimen of weekly testing, isolation protocols, plus our available response testing hubs,  have helped ensure the continuity of school this year by minimizing spread of COVID-19 on our campuses and broader community," he wrote.

"We plan to continue these protocols as the transmissible omicron subvariant BA.2 is in our communities and caused a slight increase in cases on our campuses prior to break."

Drati assured parents and staff concerned about potential insurance billing for the weekly testing that they "will not be responsible for any charges relating to our COVID testing."

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