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Cedars-Sinai Joins Los Angeles Unified’s COVID-19 Testing and School Community Engagement Program (09-02-20)

CONTACT:                                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                                  September 2, 2020


Cedars-Sinai Joins Los Angeles Unified’s
COVID-19 Testing and School Community Engagement Program


LOS ANGELES (September 2, 2020) – Superintendent Austin Beutner announced today Cedars-Sinai will support Los Angeles Unified with a planning grant to guide the development of an unprecedented COVID-19 testing and community engagement program at schools. 

The nation’s second-largest school district is embarking on a robust system of testing for all students and staff, as well as family members who may have been exposed to the virus, that will help determine when it is safe to return to school campuses. 

As the new school year gets under way, Los Angeles Unified teams are working to make sure appropriate policies and practices are in place to share information with the school community. They are fine-tuning details of the effort, such as making testing appointments, scheduling nurses to administer them, and ensuring laboratory operations and data are accurate and well-coordinated. Staff members are being trained how to follow up with those who may test positive for the virus. In addition, university researchers and health industry partners are determining how to best incorporate the results with the latest information about the health impacts of COVID-19 on the community to inform the pattern of testing and overall program. 

The goal is to have a solid foundation in place to start testing staff who are working at schools, and their children who will be in childcare, soon after Labor Day. Tests will be systematically provided to staff and students in the weeks ahead. 

Los Angeles Unified is collaborating with world-class partners in its testing effort, including UCLA, Stanford University and The John Hopkins University; Anthem Blue Cross and Health Net; Microsoft; and SummerBio and Clinical Research Laboratories. 

"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,” Superintendent 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 and help schools quickly isolate any individuals with the virus and test those who they may have come in contact with on a timely basis.” 

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, and pediatric care for students and their families. 

“COVID-19 testing and engagement 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.”