School officials say the COVID-tracking app will keep kids safe. But critics warn the technology, required in order for children to attend class, infringes on kids’ privacy and that parents should be concerned.
Los Angeles schools plan to reopen next month — and when they do, every child will be required to have a COVID-tracking app that will be scanned daily before they can enter the classroom.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) last month announced the launch of Daily Pass, a COVID tracking system developed by Microsoft. The app will scan children in schools, using a barcode, to coordinate health checks, COVID tests and vaccinations.
The Daily Pass generates a unique QR code — each day, for each student and staff member — that authorizes entry to a specific Los Angeles Unified location. An individual must have a negative test result for COVID, show no symptoms and have a temperature under 100 degrees in order to gain entry to class.
All data gathered by the app will be reported as required to health authorities. Anonymized data from Daily Pass will be used by Los Angeles Unified’s research and healthcare collaborators — Stanford University, UCLA, The Johns Hopkins University, Anthem Blue Cross, Healthnet and Cedars Sinai — “to provide insights and strategies” to implement in safe school environments, school officials said.
Students without the barcode will be barred from going into school.
LAUSD is the first school district in the nation to adopt the Daily Pass technology. In a statement, officials called Daily Pass a critical component of the district’s “Safe Steps to Safe Schools” reopening plan.
“Sort of like the golden ticket in ‘Willy Wonka,’ everyone with this pass can easily get into a school building,” Superintendent Austin Beutner told the Los Angeles Times. “We’ll know the status of everyone in the building,” he said.
Mary Holland, president of Children’s Health Defense, said parents should be concerned. “If data is the new gold, then LAUSD’s new Daily Pass is providing a lot of gold to Microsoft and other institutions,” Holland said.