Students test for COVID at home before going back to school Monday
New Year’s Eve was a COVID test date for San Diego Unified students given home kits to use during holiday vacation. Every student was sent home with two self-swab tests, to be used Friday and then again Monday morning to confirm negative results before returning to in-person classes.
98,000 kits were distributed before the winter break. They are not mandatory but were highly recommended as it was expected many families traveled to see relatives and friends, increasing the chance of exposure to the coronavirus.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson said the momentum to stop the spread will continue in the new year. According to Dr. Jackson, “We’re just going to continue to provide opportunities and access to the testing and also continue to encourage folks to get vaccinated.”
Nicole Hernandez has worked as a certified nursing assistant. She’s fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and committed to keeping her children safe. That includes her 5 year old son, Adam, who is autistic. He got his first Pfizer shot Thursday. Testing him for COVID is more of a challenge. Hernandez said, “having to go to these different pop up places and him not knowing the people administering the test. It’s very difficult. He’ll have meltdowns. But, of course, we have to have it for him to go back to school.”
The City Heights mother also has a 14 year old daughter named Carla, who is a freshman at Hoover High School. She administered the first COVID swab test to her daughter Friday morning. It came back negative. Carla told KPBS News, “I feel like there’s less of a chance for me to get COVID. There’s still a chance, but being safe like getting the vaccine and wearing your mask I think it’s less likely.”
Susan Barndollar is the district’s Director of Nursing and Wellness. She said students who test positive at home for COVID can not go to school Monday. She added, “we have a clinic at the Ed Center where they can go and have a follow up PCR test…because these are rapid tests…or..they can call their doctor. We just want them not to come to school, report it , and follow up.”