Bay Area schools ramp up COVID testing efforts as students return from winter break

Schools may be closed for the holidays. But testing continues.

School officials were handing parents COVID-19 at-home antigen test kits at this drive-thru in the Canyon Middle School parking lot in Castro Valley Friday.

"The fact that Castro Valley is making the effort to make sure the kids are protected is great for me as a parent," said parent Latasha Jackson.

With COVID cases soaring again, Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week he was sending six million at-home testing kits to all districts and charter schools in California.

One shipment arrived in Alameda County Friday afternoon.

"This was no small logistical feat. I know weather played a role in getting the tests here in a timely manner," says L.K.Monroe, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools.

Among those handing out test kits was California Superintendent Tony Thurmond.

"We want this replicated throughout the 58 counties, throughout all the districts, and continue to provide them with all the resources they need to keep our children safe and in school," he said.

The hope was to get all students tested before most school districts re-open Monday.
But with kits still being shipped statewide that won't be possible in many districts. It could happen by the end of next week. It is all voluntary.

"There is no mandate around testing," Thurmond said. "We want to continue the message of getting vaccines. Even as we focus on what is going to happen for most schools in the next few days and that is opening."

Students who test positive should stay home have their family call their school as soon as possible.