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As the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) returned to in-person instruction, a total of 17 people at schools tested positive for COVID-19 through the district’s testing program, last week.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said 15 of those who tested positive were students and two were staff members.

“This past week 15 students and two staff members who were at schools tested positive for COVID-19 in the school-based COVID testing program,” Superintendent Beutner said. “School principals were informed and able to prevent the individuals with the virus from coming back on school campuses until they’re no longer contagious.”

These are the first reported COVID-19 cases since the district began its staggered reopening on April 12 and 177 positive cases between students and staff were reported just before reopening.

“This is an important lesson of the need for all of us to get vaccinated,” Beutner said. “Even with lower rates of the virus, we need to continue to practice the individual safety measures… to keep the virus from spreading.”

In his weekly update, Beutner also highlighted that a majority of LAUSD students are still choosing online instruction over in-person, with 30% of elementary students, 12% of middle school students and 7% of high school students currently opting for on-campus learning.

Beutner said those percentages may rise as vaccinations become more available to children, just as Pfizer received emergency use authorization for 12 to 15 year olds, which now offers vaccination coverage for all teens.

“The availability of vaccines for children ages 12 to 18 is an important part of the path to recovery in schools,” Beutner said. “Ninety percent of the people on a school campus at any point in time are children. Herd immunity won’t be reached in schools or in the broader community until children are vaccinated.”

LA Weekly