SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- Back to school meant back to COVID testing, especially with the omicron variant surging and the number of people gathering over the holidays.
Parents pulled up with peace of mind.
"Easy home kit, 15 minutes, uploaded it into the system or database they use and they got the response and it came back negative. So it worked out," said Joshua Ramos.
Ramos has two children in Sacramento City Unified schools. He was glad the district gave out home test kits right before the holiday break, and he wasn't alone.
"I think it was a great idea only because I know people were gathering for Christmas and for the new year," said Krystal Jefferies.
The district had asked the state for enough home test kits for all students and staff district-wide.
"We did not get as many test kits as we had hoped for. We got 38,000. So we worked really hard to get them out to all of our sites and locations, sending them home with as many staff and students as we could," said Victoria Flores.
Those home test kits were sent out and about half of those have been returned, with only 500 having a positive result. That's less than three percent. The rollout was a little rocky. Distribution dates coincided with a school threat on TikTok, and an email over the weekend failed to specify a location for a last minute testing site or that it was closed on weekends. So some were a bit confused as they arrived at the district's Serna Center Monday morning, but overall, the district was pleased with the progress this year.
"We know we've seen low rates in our schools because we've been doing COVID testing weekly all the way leading up to the break. So we we're really on top of trying to catch those cases and contact trace and trying to stop the spread," said Flores.
School leaders are working to get the results from those test kits recorded and promoting the availability of rapid response testing at the Serna Center and Albert Einstein Middle school during the week. Testing is not mandatory, which means parents like Ramos are putting precautions to the test.
"My daughter carries a sanitizer in her bag. She understands. She is 6 years old. She understands what we're dealing with," Ramos said.
The Serna Center is open noon-3:30 p.m. and Albert Einstein Middle School is from 3-6:30 p.m. for rapid response testing. Students can also get tested on site at their schools. After January 31, if students are not vaccinated, they will need to undergo routine testing to continue in person learning.
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