Hermosa students to get COVID-19 test kits

Hermosa Valley School students mask up before entering campus. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Dan Blackburn 

Hermosa Beach School District students will receive two COVID-19 rapid antigen home  test kits this week from the Los Angeles County Department of Health. Antigen tests indicate whether or not the COVID-19 virus is present in the user’s nose, at the time the test is administered. 

The tests will be distributed at Valley School (Other details about the distribution were not available at press time.) School Superintendent Jason Johnson said this week that the district anticipates an increase in COVID-19 infections due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. 

“We have seen an increase in absences since Monday, when we had an approximate 8 percent decrease in attendance,” Johnson said. Monday’s absences represented 109 of the district’s 1,351 students.

And on Tuesday, he added, “We had seven staff absences (teachers and staff) and about 25 students on quarantine.” 

“Our small school district has been following the protocols for almost two years now, so while this increase is serious, it is something we feel prepared to take on. We continue to evaluate and assess best practices for keeping everyone healthy in this dynamic public health environment.”

The superintendent said that new requirements of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will be implemented immediately. Testing will be a central part of the plan.

Additional measures to be incorporated in protocol as outlined by Johnson include:

– New quarantine requirements for students 12 and older without a vaccine booster. For students to avoid quarantine after exposure to an infected individual, they must have had a booster vaccine. The district will implement a modified quarantine to keep students in school as safely as possible. 

– Mandatory testing of students who have had close contact with an COVID-19 infected individual, regardless of vaccination status.  

– Effective next Monday, Jan. 10, and continuing through the end of the month, students and staff must wear masks indoors and outdoors while on campus. The district  strongly encourages students, and staff to wear masks that are well-fitting, multiple layer, non cloth, and with a nose wire.

– Through the end of this month, visitors, and volunteers are prohibited on campuses. 

Johnson told parents that the Beach Cities Health District has resumed COVID testing,

Monday through Friday, from 2 to 5 p.m., at 514 N. Prospect Avenue.

“But stay home if you have symptoms,” the superintendent advised. ER

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