San Diego Unified to expand its COVID-19 testing program

Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 21:39:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Unified School District will expand its voluntary COVID-19 testing at specific campuses starting the week of January 18th.

Superintendent Cindy Marten and San Diego Education Association President Kisha Borden took the test Tuesday at Penn Elementary.

The school is one of 10 elementary campuses in the district that's been offering testing every two weeks to students and staff since December 14th.

"We know that this is the cadence or frequency of testing that will prevent 90% of spread," said Marten.

The district partnered with UCSD Medical Center to run the five million dollar testing program. The goal is to expand it to include all 100,000 students and 10,000 staff members.

"Our strategy is safety and the hope, and the light at the end of the tunnel and this testing program gets us part way through, and vaccines are right on the horizon," said Marten.

Marten says it's hard to say whether students will be back on campus for regular in-person instruction this semester.

"The hope is in the vaccine. We knew we needed to get testing up and running because the virus is still out of control in our community," said Marten.

We talked with the union president last week about whether teachers would feel comfortable returning to campus once they get the vaccine.

"Vaccines are going to play a critical role in allowing our schools to open, but there's so much that needs to be clarified about the availability, about requirements," said Borden.

The UCSD program calls for testing every two weeks, more if there's an outbreak.

Now that the winter break is over, the testing resumes for students and staff participating in appointment-based instruction.

The district plans to add ten new sites to the testing every other week.