The Los Angeles Unified School District announced some big changes to its COVID policy ahead of the start of the school year, loosening up what some call one of the strictest policies in the nation.
LA Unified dropped its masking requirements and testing protocol, and made changes to its weekly mandatory testing.
Here's what's changing.
Masks are now strongly recommended but not required.
Weekly COVID Testing
Weekly testing is no longer required. Instead, a response testing protocol will be put in place. Students will use at-home rapid antigen tests. Asymptomatic students will not be required to test weekly.
The weekly testing was regarded as a massive undertaking, costing the district millions.
The district also announced it would distribute at-home rapid tests to students Aug. 19, and ask that student and staff test 48 hours before Aug. 22.
Students no longer need a daily pass with a QR code to attend, a protocol put in place in the height of the pandemic.
The changes in the policy come a day after LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho estimates up to 20,000 students are not enrolled or just stopped attending last year.
Carvalho said the changes to COVID protocols were made on recommendation from health professionals.
As the first day approaches the district is still trying to fill more than 900 teaching positions and find about 200 bus drivers.
This new school year will be longer than most after the LA Unified Board of Education approved to extend the 2022-2023 school year by a few days.
The hope is that the extra few days will allow students who have fallen behind due to the pandemic to catch up a bit.
The teachers' union UTLA opposes ridding the weekly testing.