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Sacramento Families Scramble to Find COVID Tests Before Students Go Back to Class

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The night before students in the Sacramento City Unified School District went back to school, many parents rushed to get their kids tested.

The rush to find a COVID-19 test or testing site comes after the holidays, when many families gathered and the risk of exposure to the virus, including the highly contagious omicron variant, increased.

SCUSD received 38,000 at-home COVID-19 test kits from the California Department of Public Health to administer to students and staff the week of December 13th. The kits went home on Thursday and Friday of that week and included instructions on how to use the kits. Each contained two COVID-19 tests that were meant to be taken on December 2nd and January 1st.

Some families did not receive an at-home test through their school and spent Sunday going to testing sites listed on SCUSD's website and included in a back-to-school message, also sent Sunday.

Parents came to Albert Einstein Middle School, one of the SCUSD's centrally-located testing sites, to see if they could find a test for their student. The message only included the time at which the location would be open, and not the day, which the SCUSD's website lists as Monday-Friday.

"[We want a] little bit more direction on what to do and what they want to see happen, if you're going to send out a text to the entire district make sure it's correct," said Joseph, a SCUSD parent.

Across town, another family was prepped to go back to school at Kit Carson International Academy and Caleb Greenwood. Negative tests throughout the winter break, and the night before they were set to go back to school, offered a piece of mind.

"I thought you know what, let's just be safe, keep on top of it, and make sure that we're negative before we go back," said Kara Synhorst, a mother of two and a teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento.

Synhorst said she worries about the spread of COVID from all angles, a parent and a teacher but also wishes there was more direction from SCUSD leaders.

"In terms of like, direct guidance, reaching out to teachers, I don't think there's been as much of that to make us feel comfortable," said Synhorst.

A SCUSD spokesperson said more at-home test kits are expected this week, provided through the Sacramento County Office of Education.

Testing will continue at all school sites and at SCUSD central locations including the Serna Center from 12-3:30 p.m. and Albert Einstein Middle School from 3-6:30 p.m. Surveillance testing resumes Monday and every day this week.

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