The Los Angeles Unified School District has officially launched Daily Pass, an app designed to coordinate health checks, COVID tests and vaccinations for a safe reopening of schools.
“Sort of like the golden ticket in ‘Willy Wonka,’ everyone with this pass can easily get into a school building,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said during his weekly update on Feb. 22.
Daily Pass, developed with support from Microsoft, generates a unique QR code for each student and staff member that authorizes entry to a specific Los Angeles Unified location for that day only, as long as the individual receives a negative test result for COVID, shows no symptoms and has a temperature under 100 degrees. Upon an individual’s arrival to a campus, their QR code is scanned by a Los Angeles Unified school site leader who takes the individual’s temperature.
The Daily Pass will also be used by Los Angeles Unified’s school-based vaccination program to register and schedule appointments, track vaccines in stock, perform check-in and data capture at time of appointment, sort high-risk individuals, offer waitlists to low-risk individuals and dashboards to view data, among other features. All of this information is shared with the appropriate authorities.
“Since last June, our teams have been collaborating closely with Los Angeles Unified to support running schools remotely,” Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows product & education, Eran Meggido, said. "We are pleased to be working with Los Angeles Unified to help educators, staff and students return to schools sooner and safer. We are excited for you to start using Daily Pass.”
According to Beutner, LAUSD is the first school district in the nation to implement the technology, which allows school officials to keep track of the health status of everyone inside the district's buildings.
“The Daily Pass sets the highest standard possible for school safety,” Beutner said in a statement. “MERV-13 upgraded air filters in every school, COVID testing for all students and staff at least every week and now the Daily Pass – Los Angeles Unified is proud to lead the nation in creating the safest possible school environment.”
LAUSD said the system is "tailored to accommodate the diverse types of people who visit a school campus on any given day and to include functions tied to COVID testing and contact tracing and vaccination." While the app will not catch those who are asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19, school officials hope to address the issue through weekly testing of students and staff.
Anonymized data from Daily Pass will be used by the Los Angeles Unified’s research and health care collaborators – Stanford University, UCLA, The Johns Hopkins University, Anthem Blue Cross, Healthnet and Cedars Sinai – to provide insights for strategies to create the safest possible school environment.
Daily Pass will be available to all LAUSD employees, students 13 years and older, and family members using computers and mobile devices. Beutner added that staff will be assigned to school entrances to help with the process and that anyone without a phone or computer will be walked through the process in person.
Students, families and employees can access Daily Pass at https://dailypass.lausd.net. Students and employees should use their Los Angeles Unified logins. Family members can log in using their Parent Portal accounts.
The long-awaited move comes as LAUSD is targeting an April 9 reopening of schools. Beutner noted that while systems are in place to vaccinate school staff at Hollywood Park, the government needs to do its part to make more vaccine doses available.
"I’m encouraged by recent actions by both the state Legislature and the governor to help. Each have indicated there will be more vaccines available for school staff," Beutner said. "They must act with urgency as students can’t wait. We need a specific plan with a specific commitment of doses to Los Angeles Unified so we can protect our school staff and all in the school community. That’s what Chicago did and that’s what Long Beach did. We need to do that here."
Following an announcement by California Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month that at least 10% of the state’s vaccines would go to education workers starting March 1, the governor's office released a new plan Thursday outlining how the state will allocate vaccines to education workers.
Each week, the state will provide 75,000 doses to county offices of education for distribution. Teachers and other education workers will get single-use codes to make expedited appointments online. If that many vaccines do come through, it could be a matter of weeks for California’s 320,000 K-12 public school teachers to be inoculated.
Under Newsom's guidelines, elementary campuses are allowed to reopen when a county’s adjusted seven-day average of daily infections falls below 25 cases per 100,000 residents, a threshold met in LA County earlier this week.
However, Unified Teachers of Los Angeles, the union representing the district’s teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians, argue that in-person instruction should not resume until cases drop to 7 per 100,000, when the county exits the “purple tier” signifying widespread community transmission. While the union and district remain in negotiations over a safe return to campus, union members are tentatively scheduled to vote this week on whether they would oppose a return-to-work order.
In the meantime, LAUSD will begin offering child care, one-on-one and small group instruction, services for students with special needs and a return to athletic conditioning beginning this upcoming week.
The United States has surpassed 28.5 million COVID-19 cases and 512,000 related deaths as of Sunday, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. California reported a statewide total of over 3.4 million COVID-19 cases and 51,979 related deaths
Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health reported 1,064 new COVID-19 cases and 107 new deaths Sunday, bringing countywide totals to 1,191,923 cases and 21,345 deaths to date. There are 1,661 people in Los Angeles currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with 32% located in hospital intensive care units.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 75 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the United States as of Sunday.