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Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday that the school district has created a COVID-19 testing system in anticipation of students returning to its campuses.

“We continue to put in place plans to have students back in schools as soon as health conditions in the area allow,” Beutner said.

“Unfortunately, the overall level of the virus is still too high.”

The superintendent said the tests will help the effort to track the virus and to separate people who have contracted it from the general school population.

Beutner said the LAUSD is setting a “new standard” in public education with its system of testing for the virus at schools, and the district will begin offering tests to all staff and students when campuses reopen.

He said students and staff will continue with periodic testing, and families will receive mobile notices from principals or immediate supervisors for staff that they need to be tested.

“Schools have long been on the frontlines of dealing with broader societal issues, and that has never been more true that during this crisis,” Beutner said, adding that LAUSD needs federal funding to accomplish all of its goals of meeting the safety of the students.

The superintendent also said the district is working to help students who are applying for college amid the pandemic.

Beutner said last week that schools with likely not open until next year. He said it was unfortunate that the pandemic response has been divisive among people who are trying to provide education for their students as well as stay safe.

“Some officials contend that the extraordinary emergency actions taken by school districts from providing millions of free meals to the families they serve to buying computers providing computers for students to creating their own COVID-testing programs are somehow options — they aren’t,” Beutner said.

“This crisis is far from over. It’s been a long stretch, and while we may grow accustomed to hearing about so many challenges still lie, for schools, figuring out how to bring students back to schools and keeping them there in the safest way possible, will be our toughest challenge yet,” Beutner said.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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