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Alpine schools begin drive-thru COVID-19 testing for staff members

Posted at 3:03 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 00:27:45-04

ALPINE, Calif. (KGTV) - The Alpine Union School District has become one of the first local school districts to begin mandatory testing for all staff members.

In partnership with Cal Fire, the pre-K to 8 school district rolled out drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Wednesday.

"The number that came out was beyond what we expected. It was a steady flow of staff all day long," said District Superintendent Rich Newman.

So far, 65% of all staff -- about 130 employees -- have gotten a test, with results due back within two to five days.

"We’ve gone one step beyond most districts," said Newman.

Newman says while the state requires districts test half their staff every month during in-person learning, his school district expects to test all of its staff every month. The drive-thru testing events will be held every two weeks.

"We want to make sure we can stay open for our students," said Newman.

The testing is one component of a detailed in-school learning plan, which includes plexiglass dividers on every student desk and a thorough cleaning regimen.

"I had a meeting with the principals and it was very emotional, because they felt all the hard work paid off," said Newman.

As for the testing, Newman says the response from parents and staff has been positive.

"The number one response from staff has been 'Thank you for setting this up quickly,'" said Newman.

Newman hopes the testing track down asymptomatic cases and provide some peace of mind.

"If our staff feels safe, healthy, and taken care of, they can focus on teaching and learning with our students," said Newman.

Newman says each class has assigned restrooms and outdoor spaces that will help officials with tracing if an outbreak should develop.