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More COVID-19 at-home test kits on the way to San Diego school districts

Governor Newsom says more at-home test kits arrived Monday night at their warehouse and are being sent out to counties for distribution to California students.

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Unified School District distributed testing kits to students before winter break. They said the first test should have been taken on New Year's Eve, but other local districts did not receive tests leaving many parents with questions. 

On Tuesday, Governor Newsom's office posted on their Twitter page that more at-home test kits arrived Monday night at their warehouse and are being sent out to counties for distribution. The California Department of Public Health said there have been delays because of the weather.

"These at-home test kits arrived last night at our warehouse and will immediately be sent to counties for distribution through county offices of education."

"We are wanting to come back, but also wanting everyone to be safe. It's our priority. So, there are lots of mixed emotions, but hoping to get back soon to normal," said Kristin Arrington, Hawthorne Elementary School teacher.

Arrington was waiting in a long line Sunday at the San Diego Unified School District COVID-19 testing site to make sure she tests negative before school starts back up Monday. 

"Feeling mixed feelings about coming back and I'm worried," said Arrington.

In a note to parents, San Diego Unified School District wrote, "As our country enters a new and dangerous stage of the COVID-19 pandemic with case rates on the rise due to the Omicron variant, please have your students use one of the district-provided at-home COVID-19 rapid tests on Monday, January 3rd before returning to school."

Then, they ask parents to upload results by clicking this link on their website. 

However, this wasn’t the case for the Poway Unified School District.

Parents and students received an email Saturday that read: 

"Unfortunately, the free COVID test kits that were promised from the State have not arrived. Earlier this week, we were told that the State would ship rapid at-home tests for every student returning from winter break, for distribution this weekend. Today, we and other school districts were informed that the shipment did not arrive, and the San Diego County Office of Education does not know when we can expect to receive them. We will follow up with an update when we do receive the test kits from the State.

If your child has COVID-like symptoms, or has been in contact with someone with COVID-19, please keep them home and get a test to see if they have COVID-19. Contact your healthcare provider, make an appointment at our testing partner Phamatech, or visit one of the free COVID-19 testing locations across the county. If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, please keep them home and contact your school.

Both the CDC and CDPH have reduced their quarantine recommendations for those who test positive or are exposed from 10 days down to 5 days, with a negative test.

We look forward to welcoming our students back with all of our virus transmission mitigation strategies in place, including upgraded air filtration and ventilation, universal facial coverings indoors, contact tracing and quarantine of close contacts, required vaccination or weekly testing of all employees, and the availability of vaccinations for students."

"If we got ours, they should have gotten theirs. Everything with shipping is crazy right now. It's an unfortunate side effect of everything going on right now," said Arrington. 

Poway Unified tweeted "All Poway Unified campuses will resume in person Monday. School athletics and tournaments are also continuing. PUSD families can check their emails for details."

"A lot of up in the air and a lot of wanting to be back, but also wanting to be safe and that’s the biggest thing is wanting the teachers and kids and families to be safe," said Arrington. 

Carlsbad Unified School District said that school will resume Monday. They will have daily COVID-19 testing locations on four campuses. 

The San Diego County Office of Education issued the following statement to News 8 about its lack of at-home tests as of Saturday. 

"Unfortunately, the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) has still not received any at-home COVID-19 antigen tests from the state for distribution to our region’s districts and charter schools. California Department of Public Health representatives have told SDCOE that testing kits may be received 'early next week depending on many factors (weather, customs, warehouse capacity, etc.).' 

We will notify school leaders as soon as we have received the test kits in order to coordinate pickup dates."

On Monday, the CA Department of Public Health sent News 8 a statement regarding tests made available:

California is committed to our goal of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our schools safe.

Over the last several weeks, the state has made millions of tests available to counties, and county offices of education are coordinating distribution processes to get those tests into the hands of students and parents as soon as possible. 

Last week alone, the state delivered approximately 3 million tests to counties. Another 1 million tests are currently en route to counties due to arrive in the next 24 hours.

While millions of tests have already been delivered to California families, many others have been delayed by the unprecedented storms the country has seen over the last two weeks.  About 1.5 million tests are anticipated to arrive to the state’s warehouse today which will immediately be shipped to counties across the state.

These efforts will ensure California schools remain among the safest in the nation.

Earlier in December, California also sent millions of tests to schools in anticipation of a caseload surge, and increased demand for testing. California preemptively sent approximately 2 million at-home COVID tests to 3,000 schools across the state, and many schools sent students home from Winter break with COVID tests in hand.

While California educates over 12% of the nation’s students, the state accounts for only 0.3% of school closures nationwide in the 2021-22 school year.

For other local school districts, they say it's best to stay updated on their websites.

WATCH RELATED: Now is the time to use at-home COVID-19 tests before school starts


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