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San Diego Unified School District to consider COVID-19 testing plan

Testing program would be collaboration with UC San Diego
Posted at 8:13 AM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 15:39:07-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A potential partnership between the San Diego Unified School District and UC San Diego could help prevent the spread of the coronavirus within the school district.

On Tuesday, officials with SD Unified and UC San Diego will discuss a collaborative effort that will provide COVID-19 testing -- with rapid results -- for district students and staff members every two weeks.

Under the proposed testing program, all students and staff would be tested even if no symptoms are shown. The plan is to get their more than 100,000 students and 15,000 staff members tested twice a month.

School Board Vice President Richard Barrera said, “We can’t wait for the federal and state government to provide so we can reopen our schools. We have to take the initiative ourselves ... being able to test on our campuses both students and staff is the best way to get large numbers of people being tested. UC San Diego would bring health professionals onto our campuses to do the testing.”

San Diego Unified School District schools are currently in Phase One of the district's reopening plan. Under Phase One, which began Oct. 13, teachers have returned to campuses to provide appointment-based, in-person instruction for elementary school students identified as having “the greatest needs.”

Phase Two of the district’s reopening plan would begin for elementary school students on Jan. 4, 2021. Middle and high Schools will start Jan. 25, at the beginning of the third academic quarter.

SD Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten, district School Board President Dr. John Lee Evans, and UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla are among the leaders expected to speak on the proposed partnership on Tuesday on the UC San Diego campus.

The school board will vote on the $5 million testing plan at its regular meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The district wants to use the $5 million from its budget, which includes funding from the CARES ACT to put up the initial costs to start up this program. But what happens next?

"To sustain it -- it will require significant investments and that will need to come from the next stimulus package," said Barrera.