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SDCOE to distribute at-home COVID testing kits from state to schools

Posted at 12:48 AM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 09:07:50-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) will begin distributing at-home COVID test kits allocated by the state to school districts and charter schools Wednesday.

School districts and charter schools will pick up their portion at the SDCOE warehouse. Families will be contacted by their district or school on how to receive the test kits.

Music Watson, SDCOE's Chief of Staff, said tests are in high demand with students returning from the holidays amid a surge in cases.

"There’s a short supply so people are really clamoring for these tests," said Watson. "We know that families really want to make sure their students are safe."

In December, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state would send every K-12 student an at-home COVID test to be taken before they head back to class.

After a week of delay due to storms, San Diego County received 196,560 kits out of the 410,616 allocated Tuesday afternoon.

Watson said right now, kits are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Vista Unified School District, River Valley Charter School, and Steele Canyon High School are among those to receive test kits Wednesday. 

Watson said not every district or school will receive kits from the county.

The San Diego Unified School District sent their students home with tests before winter break.

Other districts like the San Marcos Unified School District are on a waitlist for the remainder of the allocation.

"Our students come back this coming Monday, the 10th," said Dr. Andy Johnsen, SMUSD Superintendent. "For San Marcos, it's a nice added layer for us."

Johnsen said they've been able to offer on-site COVID testing for staff and students during most of the school year.

While he admits he's a bit concerned about the current surge, Johnsen said last month was the district's lowest case rate thanks to extra safety precautions.

"We are just counting on everybody to continue to do the right thing. Wear your mask, wash your hands, if you’re sick, stay home, and we'll be able to keep our schools open," he said.

The California Department of Public Health hasn’t said when the rest of the county's allocation will arrive, but in an email to 10News said, “we are working very hard to allocate equitably and quickly within the time and information constraints.”