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School District Opts for Weekly COVID Testing at Home

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By Lookout Staff

August 15, 2022 -- The School District is working on a plan to provide free weekly at-home testing kits to all students and staff, exceeding recommendations from the County and State, District officials announced Monday.

While the County and State only require testing when someone has symptoms, the School District expects the tests be used weekly, according to a letter from Superintendent Ben Drati to parents, students and staff.

"We are taking a more precautious step as a transition," Drati wrote. "With this decision comes the expectation that parents and staff will be cooperative in weekly antigen testing at home."

The decision comes after a survey of some 3,500 parents and staff found that 42 percent favor "voluntary" weekly antigen testing using free kits at home.

Another 36 percent prefer "mandatory" PCR testing through testing companies, as was done last school year, while 21 percent prefer "mandatory" weekly testing at home.

In addition to the survey results, District management and staff analyzed "the logistics and complexities required in implementing the different options proposed," Drati wrote.

The School Board also weighed in at its meeting last Thursday, he said.

"It is in our collective best interests to maintain in-person instruction without disruptions of class or school closures due to outbreaks," Drati said.

"We want everyone to recognize that we are part of a school community that relies on each other to do the right thing," he said.

If any student or staff member tests positive, the result "needs to be reported to your school nurse and minimum five-day isolation instructions followed," Drati said.

Students and staff have received test kits to use "the night before or morning of the first day of school" on Thursday, Drati said.

District officials are working on a plan to distribute kits to the schools and are waiting for the Los Angeles County Office of Education to let them know when the kits will be available.

"We are trusting of our families and staff to stay home when sick, and to take the weekly tests to best ensure we are protective of student and staff health while on our campuses," Drati said.

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