The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Thursday that all students and district employees will have to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, regardless of their vaccination status.
The story: The district said that the new testing mandate will apply to students and faculty who are returning to in-person activities for the upcoming academic year. They would have to undergo “baseline and ongoing weekly COVID-testing” even if they are fully vaccinated.
“This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health,” LAUSD Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly wrote in a message to the district community. “Baseline testing begins on Monday, August 2.”
Students can choose to remain off campus by opting for distance learning.
“Ultimately, the greatest protection against COVID and the delta variant is vaccination,” Reilly said. “We encourage everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated.”
Worth noting: The district previously required such testing for those who have not received a Covid vaccine.
How we got here: The shift in policy comes as the states across the U.S. are recording a surge of coronavirus cases of the delta variant, which health authorities say is highly contagious. The rise in cases also prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update guidance to recommend that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas reporting a spike in infections.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a recent interview explained that even fully vaccinated people can not only get sick from the delta variant but can transfer the virus to someone else.
“But with the delta variant, we now see in our outbreak investigations that have been occurring over the last couple of weeks, in those outbreak investigations, we have been seeing that if you happen to have one of those breakthrough infections, that you can actually now pass it to somebody else,” she said.
Walensky later noted that breakthrough cases are rare.
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