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10% Positivity Rate Delays First Day Of In-Person Learning At La Cañada Unified Schools

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE (CBSLA) — The return to campus from winter break was delayed at La Cañada Flintridge schools after the district's Monday testing results came back with a 10% positivity rate.

La Cañada Unified's Board of Education held an emergency meeting Tuesday night after learning of the "shocking" 10% positivity rate – 140 positive test results from 1,565 tests, according to the district. Additionally, 130 more test results are pending, and 38 staffers has also tested positive.

Classes were scheduled to resume Wednesday at La Cañada schools, but with the jump in positive cases among students, the school board voted to delay in-person learning for another day and require a negative COVID-19 test in order for students and staff to return to campus on Thursday.

Testing continued at all of the district's school sites Tuesday, and officials say they have exhausted their testing supplies. The state, however, is sending out tests to school districts, and La Cañada Unified says it is hoping to receive a shipment of 5,000 tests by Wednesday morning.

Much of the extreme surge in positive COVID cases has been blamed on the Omicron variant, which has been shown to be much more contagious even among people who have been fully vaccinated and have received boosters. The spread of Omicron unfortunately dovetailed with widespread holiday travel and gatherings, leading to skyrocketing demand for testing across the region so people can get back to work and school.

La Cañada is not the only school district in Southern California scrambling to respond to a spike in positive tests. Malibu Middle and High schools on Tuesday instituted distance learning on Tuesday rather than return to campuses after Sunday testing detected 20 positive cases. Negative COVID-19 tests were required to return to campus Wednesday, when 67 more students and 3 staff members tested positive, according to Principal Patrick Miller. The school experienced an outbreak before going on break, so screening was already scheduled before the start of the spring semester, he said.

"It keeps going on and on, almost two years," one parent said. "I don't know when it's going to end. I guess we'll just take it as it comes right?"

About 700 students had to get screened before being admitted onto campus, which led to a long line at the front gate. But parent Kristin Kohn seemed accompanied her son stoically.

"I have a senior and am just grateful he's in class and we're being safe and protecting one another," she said.

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