Laguna Beach USD board to discuss requiring COVID-19 tests for students

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Students arrive on the first day of instruction at Top of the World Elementary school. Photo by Mitch Ridder

The Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Friday to consider requiring students to get tested for COVID-19.

Several school districts in Southern California have required COVID-19 testing for all students. The Los Angeles and Santa Ana unified school districts now require students get a negative COVID-19 test result every week to show up at campuses.

“Since August 19 there has been a request by members of the board to discuss mandating that all students be tested for COVID-19,” district staffers wrote in a report.

Last winter, Laguna Beach student-athletes in contact sports were required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly as a condition of participating. Laguna Beach Unified contracted Living Fit Nation to provide and support the administration of the tests at that time. Tests have also been offered to the entire school community on a voluntary basis.

Multiple details on a testing mandate still need to be ironed out by board members including the frequency of the testing, potential exemptions to testing (for example, teenagers who can show proof of vaccination), and how to continue educating students who refuse to be tested.

If the board votes to require COVID-19 testing for students, district administrators plan to ask board members for clarity on how to implement an independent study for those who don’t want to get swabbed.

On Aug. 10, the school board directed Supt. Jason Viloria to mandate that all employees be vaccinated or apply for a medical or religious exemption waiver by Oct. 15. Subsequently, the board directed staff to test all employees in the district for COVID-19 as soon as possible. All employees were tested by Sept. 1, according to a staff report.

“We would like to ensure that we can all remain in school with in-person instruction at school and decrease student absences,” said Sara Hopper, president of the Laguna Beach Unified Faculty Association. “Ironically, we currently have more Covid cases now than before we were all vaccinated.”

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District isn’t considering a testing requirement for students at this time, a district spokesperson said Thursday. The district has mandated testing for employees as required by state health guidelines.

The special meeting of the school board will be held via Zoom at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mandating to free adult citizens what they will put in “THEIR” bodies?
    Is this the same group of people who cry
    hysterically about “MY BODY MY CHOICE”?
    Our School Board and Superintendent are unchecked and drunk with self-righteous power.
    Where do they believe they get this authority? 🤔
    The “ONLY” constant truth about COVID is that the risk to people of school age is negligible.
    Why are we doing this to our children?
    It is creepy and immoral.

  2. @Kirk Langton it doesn’t appear you read the article thoroughly. The Board gave employees the option of applying for an exemption, and submitting to regular testing instead…nobody is mandating anything. Also, your comments about the “ONLY constant truth” are problematic in many ways. 1) Nobody is mandating students get vaccinated, only potentially getting tested. 2) the Delta variant of Covid is proving to be more than a negligible risk to kids. And 3) a child contracting Covid doesn’t occur in isolation. Children are then likely to infect other kids and adults, perpetuating the cycle that leads to severe illness and death to others down the line.

  3. “On Aug. 10th the School Board directed Superintendent Jason Viloria to mandate that all employees be vaccinated or apply for religious or medical exemption waiver”.

    What did I NOT read correctly?

    Where is the freedom to say I do not want it?

    While the “ADULTS” are filling the football stadiums to capacity; holding concerts in the park in NYC; flying to the Hampton’s on private Jets to celebrate ex-Presidents Birthdays; and dinning in restaurants that are once again filled to capacity lets NOT pretend we are protecting the least vulnerable group of people.
    The Flu between 2017-18 was twice as lethal to school age children compared to Covid.
    Israel just released a study that found people who have contacted Covid and recovered have a stronger immune system than people vaccinated.
    The goal post keeps getting moved. First, it was about 2 weeks to stop the hospitals from being over run. We are now close to 80% vaccinated or people who contacted Covid and recovered. This use to be the goal. Now, it is the Delta Variant to be followed by the NEW and improved Mu Variant.
    How many mandated vaccines will you take before you say enough is enough?

    This is about Control and Power.

    Lets concentrate on protecting the elderly and most vulnerable who can’t make decisions for themselves.
    Abusing our children is NOT the right or ethical approach.
    Free Adults can make their own choices.
    Let our children live a normal life.

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