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Vacaville Schools Lean On Rapid COVID Testing Center To Keep Students In Class

VACAVILLE (CBS13) — It's the ABC's of COVID19: School districts learning how to keep kids in class amidst the new delta variant, protocols for exposures, and quarantine.

"It's pretty convenient," said Eric Pakroo.

When Pakroo's daughter Aubrey didn't feel well, he brought her into the new centralized COVID-19 testing center run by the Vacaville Unified School District.

"We're really not in the public health business, but with COVID everybody is into every business," said Associate Superintendent Ed Santopadre.

It's located at the Shelley Daily Early Learning Village. Inside, there's free walk-in rapid antigen testing offered to students and district employees.

Staffing is provided by Bay PLS through the California Department of Public Health. Contact tracing specialists are also available.

"It's allowed our students who are in close contact, or who go home with sniffles, to not stay out ten days in quarantine," Santopadre said.

Students can return to class within minutes. COVID quarantine protocols in schools allow this rapid response and return because masking is mandated in the classroom.

"Being masked, what they're finding is the overwhelming majority are negative - so they can stay in school. They can continue to learn. And it has saved us lots and lots of missed days," Santopadre said.

Charles Millett says it's one more assignment for parents during the school year - especially with his son.

"Unfortunately, it's more of a hassle," Millett said. "He has allergies because of all the wind here in Vacaville, so he got sent home from school. He had to come before they set up this testing site and then he had to be tested before he went back to school again."

In the last two months, Vacaville schools administered nearly 3500 tests - detecting only 55 positives.

Elk Grove Unified school district is also establishing 11 centers. There will be nine outdoor testing centers – one per comprehensive high school, one at the district office and one at the Gerber Road offices.

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