Get Tested Through LAUSD’s COVID Testing Program

Gabriel Heater, Sports Editor

LAUSD has partnered up with several organizations to make COVID tests available for students and staff members free at select testing sites. Athletic conditioning is now permitted and the growing speculation of reopening schools; COVID tests have become a necessary component in the plans to reopen schools and estimate the prevalence of the virus in the school’s community.

Principal Keri Lew describes the COVID testing program as a web of connective efforts as several organizations have partnered with LAUSD to make COVID testing free and widely available for students, staff, and parents.

LAUSD is partnering with several partners including UCLA, Stanford University, John Hopkins University, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Health Net, Anthem Blue Cross, Microsoft, Clinical Reference Laboratory, and SummerBio for COVID-19 testing,” Lew said.

With the efforts of these organizations, the COVID testing program has 41 testing sites with Carnegie Middle school being the closest to Rancho Dominguez Prep. COVID tests can be scheduled online via the RDPS website in which nasal swabs will be used and sent to labs which will be able to determine and email you the results in around 24-36 hours upon being tested.

Mrs. Lew also adds that employees of LAUSD have undergone COVID testing through this program and as of early November students are also taking part in free COVID testing.

“Employees and students are participating in baseline testing prior to schools re-opening for in-person instruction. Baseline testing will help determine the prevalence of the virus in the school community and help guide decision-making around school reopening,” Lew added. “LAUSD does not yet have a date to reopen schools – a re-opening date will depend on COVID-19 data in our area. The COVID-19 testing data may be one of the data points used as the District looks at the reopening of schools.”

Although, the COVID testing program is still in its early stages as more students and staff get tested the demographic data collected will further help map out how severe COVID is in a specific area which will help dictate future actions in the process of reopening schools.

All testing results will be secured but some data will be given to health experts at organizations partnered with the COVID testing program such as UCLA, the Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University. Demographics, however, would be shared with public health authorities and any information sent to outside parties will be prohibited without the consent of the participant being tested. With this, the COVID testing program working hand in hand with health experts and public health authorities will work alongside to help make the transition back to school safer in reducing the risk of students and staff from spreading the virus according to LAUSD.

LAUSD has also partnered up with Microsoft which developed the application “Daily Pass” which is intended for all LAUSD students, staff, and visitors to use. The Daily Pass will include a daily health check and will notify the students or staff when they would need to follow up on another COVID test. As long as the student or staff has been confirmed negative and shows no signs or symptoms of COVID, they will be able to enter the school campus.

Senior, Shamiya Collins, and Sophomore, Alondra Ramírez took their COVID test through the COVID testing program expressing positive reviews of the testing process.

“It was way easier than expected, all we had to do was sign up online to schedule it, then go to the location to do it. It’s not like the hospital tests where they shove the swab up your nose, but more of an easier procedure since I chose the sputum test,” Collins stated.

For Collins the process was efficient and faster than she expected it. Knowing that the COVID test program was partnered with health organizations Collins also believed that this system would help schools in the reopening process.

“I feel like this partnership with the health organizations can help the transition of combating COVID and reopening schools but I know that schools won’t be open in a specific amount of time cause it also depends on the students to follow the safety protocols so we can all go back to school safely than have another spike [of COVID cases] on our hands. If both these partnerships and students equally contribute and work together through this troublesome pandemic I’m sure we can transition much faster,” Collins added.

Though this program will help schools reopen faster Collins still believes that several other factors are necessary to consider.

Similarly, Alondra Ramírez also had positive things to say about the COVID testing program as overall the test was efficient.

“[The test] was much more uncomplicated than I thought it would be. When I went, there weren’t any people. I got there a little bit before 4:00 pm. A few workers were pointing me in the right direction. It was at the Carnegie Middle School gym so it was very spacious. The actual test was the easiest part because they let us do the test ourselves. They handed us a swab and talked us through the process and answered any questions we had. The experience was pleasant, and the worker made us feel comfortable with a few jokes and reassurances,” Ramírez recalled. “[However] I do remember that the hand sanitizer was very low quality and it almost felt like it was watered down leaving a gross residue on my hand.”

Despite the quality of the hand sanitizer being used, Ramírez thought the whole process was easy to follow and unintimidating. Commenting on the “Daily Pass” app that is planned to be used, Ramírez also believes that this app will help the process of schools to reopen.

“[The app] sounds like a good idea because it would simplify weekly testing for students and staff. It also seems very safe and I think with access to that kind of information in the palm of your hand a lot of people would feel safer returning to school,” Ramírez added. However, my main concern is the lack of local places for people to get tested. If the program opens more testing sites so people don’t have to travel far every week, then that would help a lot.” 

Senior, Milton Rivas however, hasn’t been tested through the LAUSD testing program as he has already been tested through a different organization, stating that this program has its benefits.

“Yes, this program will speed up the reopening process of schools considering the cost of the exam with other organizations such as private laboratories. I got tested last week, and I had to pay $230 for the test. It’s worth mentioning it was a travel emergency, so I did what I had to do… but I’m happy that LAUSD is working/partnering with other organizations to have better accessibility to get tested,” Rivas mentioned. “Also, there are some laboratories that are charging around $400 per test!”

As a person who has paid for their COVID tests, Rivas is relieved that the LAUSD COVID testing program is offering free, reliable tests for students.

LAUSD along with the efforts of several organizations are doing their part in the COVID testing program in the fight to reopen schools as safely as possible. With 41 testing sites, the COVID testing program makes an efficient and economically friendly way to get tested. If in need of a COVID test make sure to book your appointment in the link found on the RDPS Homepage.