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L.A. County will require weekly testing of high school athletes effective Sept. 1

Equipment set up outside a building for temperature checks.
The setup at Loyola High in October 2020 when students had to have temperature checks during COVID-19 pandemic.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health published revised guidelines Monday requiring high school athletes to be tested weekly for the COVID-19 virus. The preliminary guidance was sent to school principals Friday subject to review. Later on Monday, principals were sent new protocols that will take effect Sept. 1 instead of this week.

“Testing is on,” said West Hills Chaminade athletic director Todd Borowski.

In an email sent to schools, the county said: “Please note that the Protocol for Organized Youth Sports Appendix S has been temporarily taken down while a new Health Officer Order is being finalized.”

A county public health spokeswoman said in an email: “The effective date has changed to give time for teams to prepare and put things in place.”

The guidelines will require the wearing of masks by spectators and participants for indoor events such as volleyball. Mask wearing will be recommended but not required for outside events.

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“It means all football and water polo players must be tested regardless of vaccination status,” said Loyola High athletic trainer Tim Moscicki. “I think people who are vaccinated might be upset they have to get tested.”

The weekly testing for athletes in such sports as football ended in March, but a surge in cases in L.A. County will force schools to return to testing.

Some school districts, such as Los Angeles Unified, have been testing all students weekly, so there will be few changes needed. But some private schools could need to scramble to resume weekly testing next Wednesday.


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