LAUSD students must wear better surgical-level COVID-19 masks on campus, starting Monday – Daily News
Los Angeles Unified School District students will no longer be able to wear cloth masks or other types of non-surgical masks on campus, starting Monday, January 24.
While the coronavirus outbreak fueled by the omicron variant remains a concern for many students and parents who may be reluctant to resume in-person learning, the nation’s second-largest school district has maintained a wide range of safety requirements for staff and students on campus. Protocols have evolved over the weeks, in response to changes in the outbreak that has plagued the community for nearly two years.
Medical-grade masks, such as N95 and other surgical-grade protective face coverings, will be required for all students at LAUSD schools, the district announced on its website Friday, January 21.
An announcement was sent to families and school employees, a district spokesperson said. The mandate applies to all employees and students on campus, inside and outside.
Masks will be provided to students upon request, the post read.
Students can request exemptions from the mask mandate, if there is a medical or mental condition that makes wearing a mask impossible.
In other policy changes released Friday:
–Unvaccinated students in modified quarantine may participate in before and after school activities, if they meet certain conditions.
–For some families in which a student tests positive, the siblings must be quarantined for the duration that the positive case is contagious – and for at least five additional days.
The district said the absenteeism rate for students on Friday was 25%, according to preliminary numbers — an improvement from the absenteeism rate of about 33% last week, but still higher than normal. It is unclear how many of the more than 103,000 students who were absent on Friday were absent because they were isolated or quarantined from the missing school simply because they are still reluctant to return to school in person amid of this winter’s COVID-19 surge. It is also possible that some students will be absent for reasons unrelated to COVID.
On Friday, the seven-day test positivity rate was 6.3% among district staff and 9.1% among students. Ten days ago, the first day of the second semester, test positivity rates were 15% and 17% among staff and students, respectively.
The push to wear higher quality masks is a national trend and has also been endorsed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Earlier this month, US health officials encouraged more Americans to wear the type of N95 or KN95 masks used by health workers to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
These types of masks are considered better for filtering air. But they were previously rare, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials had said they should be prioritized for healthcare workers.
In updated guidance posted on its website, CDC officials removed concerns about supply shortages and said more clearly that properly fitted N95 and KN95 masks provide the best protection.
However, agency officials noted that some masks are harder to tolerate than others and urged people to choose well-fitting masks that they will wear consistently.
“Our main message continues to be that any mask is better than no mask,” Kristen Nordlund, a CDC spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Rising infections prompted the county this week to change its public health order, requiring employers to provide enhanced masks to employees who work indoors in close contact with others.
On Monday, the county’s new, stricter rules for employers went into effect, requiring them to provide affected workers with “well-fitting medical-grade masks, surgical masks, or higher-level respirators, such as N95 or KN95 masks. “.
City News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this report.