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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Easing back into normalcy: LAUSD relaxes pandemic policies

Superintendent Carvalho recently made the decision to relax pandemic policies, and urged students with mild cold symptoms to show up to school.

As the 2023-2024 school year starts up, covid-19 feels more or less like a historical event for most students. Accordingly, LAUSD has updated its covid-19 policies. The new policies urge students who have mild cold symptoms to still attend school. The decision was made thanks to Superintendent Carvalho, who was appointed as superintendent in February 2022, as covid cases began dwindling down.

At the time of writing, LAUSD still requires individuals who have tested positive for covid-19 to stay home until at least five days have passed since symptoms first appeared and there is no fever for at least 24 hours. The decision to suggest that slightly sick students still attend school was in response to high absentee rates, which in return degraded students’ mental health and affected in-person learning. Even so, the new policy strongly advises that any student with a fever stay at home.

This is a huge shift towards pre-covid policies, as weekly covid-19 testing and mask mandates are no longer in place. Up until the 2021-2022 school year, masks were required, students had to test for covid-19 every week, check into school using a daily pass and strict quarantine procedures were in place. 

Carvalho justified the relaxing of policies by referencing professional medical counsel, adverse effects of student absences, and the fact that covid-19’s prevalence has dropped in recent years, based on hospital admissions. He also hinted at relaxing the covid-19 vaccine mandate for employees, as over 700 LAUSD employees lost their jobs due to this mandate. He also expressed his concern for the lack of consistent nursing staff in schools.

“As far as I know, I believe we need 300 more nurses in LAUSD,” said Nurse Dizon, illustrating the gravity of the nursing shortage.

Ever since the policies have been eased, parents and employees alike have had mixed feelings. The opinions are diverse, as some agree with Carvalho’s stance, while others are worried about health concerns. Some believe that the coronavirus is a thing of the past, while others firmly believe that its issue is still prevalent today.

“There are nursing facilities that I heard still have outbreaks,” Nurse Dizon said.

However, allowing these sick students to attend school could possibly increase infection rates. “I  think people who are feeling a little sick and still want to come to school should wear a mask, so that other teachers and students don’t get infected by possible colds,“ Ms. Sadhigi said. She expressed that there should be a policy to require students who feel unwell to wear a mask if they come to school. 

Carvalho stated that there were high vaccination levels and resilience to the virus in children, justifying his reasons for relaxing policies. He also highlighted the financial impacts of relaxing protocols: LAUSD would receive $300 million more in state funding.

The coming weeks will reveal whether the district’s relaxed policies are a herald of a new post-pandemic normal or a premature move in a chapter that has yet to finish.

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About the Contributor
Baron Kim
Baron Kim, Staff
An avid korean drum player, Baron Kim is a news and features writer at The Mirror. He is a junior in his second year of journalism. He enjoys playing the drums, trying new food, and watching sci-fi shows in his free time. Outside of journalism, he is involved in JROTC and National History Day. He plans to pursue a career in cybersecurity.
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