SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – As the omicron variant continues to surge, state officials are trying to get students back to school safely.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that six million at-home COVID tests would be distributed to public and charter school students.
On Friday, the state superintendent was in Alameda County distributing the free tests.
“We’re in survival mode. We’re trying to survive COVID, and it changes and we have to keep changing.”
The state superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond was at Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley explaining that the COVID-19 crisis is a moving target and testing is going to become the new norm.
“Contact your school district for a take-home test, contact your county health if you want testing through the county health program.”
“Simply put, we want to make sure everybody takes a COVID test before they come to school.”
Officials said it took some time to get the free at-home tests, part of the problem was weather with all the snow and rain we’ve seen over the last week.
At Castro Valley, cars filled with parents and students lined up to get their tests.
“This allows students and families to have what they need in their hand to determine whether they should send their child to school.”
Alameda County superintendent of schools LK Monroe says the 18 school districts will be able to pick up the tests at the county office of education and then distribute them to the students.
Officials say they understand not everyone will be able to get a test before Monday but everyone should test as soon as they’re able to get access to a test.
“California has been able to keep its schools open at a higher rate than most other states because of what we’re doing here today.”
Officials say it is important that schools continue to enforce masking.
They say families should monitor for symptoms and if someone is feeling sick or is asymptomatic and tests positive, the child should stay home.
State superintendent Thurmond also encouraged anyone that can do so, to get vaccinated.