LAUSD Plans to Launch COVID Tracker App


Amanda Chang, Staff Writer

Recently, more and more people are working on methods to trace and track COVID-19, including the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). In August 2020, the LAUSD announced that it would be releasing a COVID tracking app. 

Although it has been “ready” for quite some time, the app has been pulled back several times to be updated and tweaked. 

Accordig to The Los Angeles Times, Superintendent Austin Beutner “has explained the repeated delays as the district taking advantage of an opportunity to refine the app—something that made sense given that campuses were not open and the need for the app was less pressing.”

In the latest announcement, Beutner declared the app ready and said that it “would be instrumental in coordinating student and employee health checks, coronavirus tests, and vaccinations.”

The Microsoft-supported “Daily Pass” app will be launched when schools reopen, allowing for a more efficient way of isolating those who display symptoms or may have contracted the virus. It will also be used to track COVID-19 tests and vaccines distributed or managed by the district—in fact, the app is already being used to schedule and track them, as the district recently began a pilot vaccination program.

The app also has the ability to generate a unique QR code for each user that will be specific to a LAUSD campus or location for the day. The codes will be based on negative tests as well as a self-report that no symptoms had been observed. Each student or staff member’s QR code will be scanned by a staff member at the campus upon arrival. It is hoped that the problem of too much traffic will be prevented through the QR codes. 

“Sort of like the golden ticket in ‘Willy Wonka,’ everyone with this pass can easily get into a school building… We’ll know the status of everyone on the building,” said Beutner. 

All the data gathered through the app will be reported to health authorities, as it is required, though necessary privacy protections will definitely be maintained.

Although the app will most likely help to keep many cases away from campuses, there is no way for the process to catch individuals who carry the virus but are asymptomatic. To combat this, routine COVID-19 testing will be conducted on students and staff every week.

A return to campus has not yet been set for either LAUSD or Arcadia Unified School District, as there has been debate about whether staff members should return to campuses soon or wait until everyone is fully vaccinated and immunized. The app will be available to LAUSD staff, family members, and students older than 13 on mobile devices and computers when campuses reopen.


Photo courtesy of LAUSD.NET