Cedars-Sinai Donates to LAUSD for COVID-19 Testing and Tracing Program
Cedars-Sinai is supporting the Los Angeles Unified School District through a planning grant to guide the development of a COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing program in preparation for the eventual return of students and staff to in-class instruction in the safest way possible.
Los Angeles Unified will begin testing for the virus when the new school year starts. Tests will be provided to staff who are currently working at schools as well as their children who are participating in the child care provided for Los Angeles Unified staff. Tests will then be provided for all staff and students over a period of weeks to establish a baseline.
On an ongoing basis, sample testing based on epidemiological models will be done for each cohort of staff and students. Testing will also be provided to family members of students and staff who test positive for the virus and family members who show symptoms. This will help get students back to school as soon as possible while protecting the health and safety of all in the school community. And it will help keep them there if an isolated outbreak were to occur.
"We have put together a group of extraordinary institutions to help, and I'm pleased Cedars-Sinai, a world-class medical organization, has joined the team and is providing funds to help plan the program," Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said. "This program will help reduce the overall level of COVID-19 in the communities we serve, provide a baseline of information to prepare for a return to schools, help schools quickly isolate any individuals with the virus, and test those who they may have come in contact with on a timely basis."
COVID-19 testing and tracing are an important part of safely bringing children back to the classroom. Education and social interaction are crucial components in the physical and mental wellbeing of children, and Cedars-Sinai is proud to partner with Los Angeles Unified to help achieve these goals.
The testing and contact-tracing program, as well as a corresponding research component, is part of a collaboration between Los Angeles Unified and Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, UCLA, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Microsoft, SummerBio and Clinical Research Laboratories.
The program will provide critical data and knowledge to guide the massive undertaking for the second-largest school district in the country. The grant is part of a broader and sustained effort by Cedars-Sinai to support Los Angeles Unified schools. Through its Healthy Habits, Share & Care, and COACH for Kids programs, Cedars-Sinai is active on more than 40 Los Angeles Unified campuses, providing mental health support, health and nutrition guidance, as well as pediatric care for students and their families.
Cedars-Sinai is also working to improve the health of the broader Los Angeles community. The organization has issued grants to dozens of nonprofit organizations to improve access to high-quality healthcare and address food insecurity, homelessness and mental health. Support for the testing and contact-tracing program is intended to help the school district respond to the most significant public health challenge in memory.
“COVID-19 testing and tracing are an important part of safely bringing children back to the classroom,” said Jonathan Schreiber, Cedars-Sinai vice president of Community Engagement. “Education and social interaction are crucial components in the physical and mental wellbeing of children, and Cedars-Sinai is proud to partner with Los Angeles Unified to help achieve these goals.”
Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Five Tips for a Safe Back-to-School During COVID-19