BREAKING: Tech Mistake Leads LAUSD Parents to Receive Names of Students Who Had Tested Positive for COVID-19
Some LAUSD parents received a surprise early Monday: over 130 emails naming students exempted from the district’s testing policy because they recently recovered from COVID-19. The watchdog group UTLA Uncensored revealed the gaff on their Twitter account.
According to UTLA Uncensored, the two parents they have found who have received these emails found their child’s name among the emails. These emails appear to be reminder emails for those students who had COVID earlier in the school year that they will be required to get regularly tested after a three month exemption period. The sender’s email address is the same one LAUSD has used before in sending COVID test-related information to parents.
The Los Angeles Unified School District has told the California Policy Center: “Los Angeles Unified learned yesterday from our information system vendor Microsoft that it had inadvertently sent emails containing COVID-19 test result information to a limited number of unauthorized people, including other Los Angeles Unified parents. Microsoft has informed us that the problem resulted from a programming error, and Microsoft assures us that the problem has been corrected. We continue to monitor this situation closely.“
Los Angeles Unified has worked with Microsoft to create a Daily Pass which tracks student’s COVID testing, daily health check questions, and creates QR codes for students to get into school. LAUSD has had problems with the Daily Pass earlier this school year.
According to HIPAA Journal, sending emails containing protected health information to unauthorized recipients “would be an unauthorized disclosure and a violation of HIPAA.”
These mistakes continue to plague LAUSD as they attempt to use technology and other strict protocols to attempt to reduce COVID spread. This is also comes as possibly 44,000 LAUSD students who have not received a COVID vaccine may be moved to independent study next year.
Brandon Ristoff is a policy analyst at the California Policy Center.