The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced plans to test its 75,000 staff and 700,000 students who show symptoms of COVID-19.
"Without tests the chain of infection cannot be broken,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said in his weekly address — noting that students and staff have regular contact with two to three million other people. LAUSD’s testing will be overseen by experts from the University of California, Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins and Stanford University. Microsoft will provide software for contact tracing. Insurers Anthem Blue Cross and Health Net will provide health related data and processing.
Screenings could begin as early as next week for children signed up for child care facilities the district is offering for on-campus workers.

Over time, the COVID-19 testing program will scale up to test all students and staff — and even household members of students and staff who test positive — at least once, Beutner said. Participants will receive invitations for future “periodic” tests at district-run sites, which will be open even before LAUSD decides to resume on-campus instruction, according to a district press release.

The testing is part of a broader pact between LAUSD and a collection of major research universities, health providers and lab and tech companies. Among them: Microsoft, which will provide software that will allow local school administrators to aid in contact tracing and other efforts to curb COVID-19’s spread.

Together, the entities will form a task force — co-chaired by former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — aimed at generating research that could help school districts nationwide decide when to reopen campuses.