The San Diego County Office of Education said Wednesday it is working in tandem with local public health officials to open COVID-19 testings sites by late next month that will be designated for school staff. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has allocated funding for the project.
“Ever since schools made the decision in March to close campuses to prevent the spread of COVID, we have been focused on creating plans to reopen safely. An effective testing strategy is a key component of one of those plans,” County Superintendent of School Paul Gothold said. “The San Diego County Office of Education is proud to partner with the county and local schools to develop a plan to test school employees. With more than 80,000 school employees in the region, this is obviously a huge undertaking.”
The state Department of Public Health recommends periodic surveillance testing for any school employees who may have contact with students or other staff.The County is getting about $20 million in state funds to expand COVID-19 testing and conduct more surveillance and contact tracing.
Meantime, with the county’s COVID-19 case rate below the threshold of 100 cases per every 100,000 residents, all K-12 schools in San Diego County can reopen Tuesday if they choose to do so. Schools that chose to reopen must meet state public health requirements and follow the guidance for schools and school-based programs.
“San Diegans have done a tremendous job in helping us to keep the local case rate below 100,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, M.D.,the county’s chief public health officer.
Public school districts, charter schools and private schools must have a safe reopening plan in place before bringing students back to campus.
According to local health officials, most students and their caregivers can receive COVID-19 tests through Rady Children’s Hospital. Parents should contact their pediatrician or e-mail Rady Children’s Hospital at email@example.com.Additionally, students and caregivers who are covered by Kaiser Permanente can consult their pediatrician or physician directly for guidance on COVID-19 testing by visiting www.kp.org.
“Given the diversity of our schools and the size of our county, the specifics of testing plans, timelines, and logistics will vary,” County Superintendent Paul Gothold said. “What won’t vary is our commitment to ensuring healthy environments for our students and employees.”