LAUSD Relaxes COVID Precautions

The Los Angeles Unified School District is modifying its COVID-19 masking, testing, and quarantine policies. The changes are significant, as LAUSD is known for having some of the strictest COVID-19 precautions in the nation.

Starting Jan. 10, outdoor masking will no longer be required at schools with a vaccination rate of 85% or more. Since vaccines will be required of the 12+ age group, this means all high school students, many middle school students, and even some elementary students can ditch the outdoor masks. 

Weekly testing will no longer be required of all students. Beginning Jan. 10, only unvaccinated students must undergo weekly testing to remain in school. The change will incur huge savings. LAUSD has been conducting 500,000 tests a week at an estimated $350 million.

Finally, students exposed to COVID-19 will no longer be sent home from school automatically. Exposed students will be able to do a “modified quarantine” on campus in which they are tested regularly for infection and monitored for symptoms. School officials say this will minimize disruptions to learning.

The district hopes the new rules, particularly on masking, will encourage more students to get vaccinated. Currently, 80% of students are on track to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate by the Jan. 10 deadline. Some 44,000 eligible students have not met the deadline to receive their first shot. Under LAUSD policy, they will have to conduct independent study off campus beginning next year.