SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – On Thursday, an urgent conversation took place about how to provide COVID testing to 50,000 students in the San Francisco Unified School District before they return to school Monday.
The union that represents San Francisco teachers is calling on the school district to make rapid take-home tests available before students and staff return.
“Especially when you’re hearing that omicron spreads at a much rapid rate than the other variants,” Frank Lara, the Executive Vice President of United Educators of San Francisco, said.
The spokesperson for the San Francisco Unified School District, Laura Dudnik, says COVID testing has been offered since last spring.
“Beginning this Sunday we’re also going to be offering mobile rapid testing at locations throughout the city at various schools. So, families, staff, and students are encouraged to go online to our website at sfusd.edu, to access that information and to make an appointment,” Dudnik said.
“We have to make sure that’s actually possible. Make sure there’s enough testing sites,” Supervisor Matt Haney said.
That is something San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney says is not likely. His concern is that SFUSD plans to wait until the end of the school week to distribute the home tests being provided by the state.
“But the students and the staff will have already been in the school for an entire week before then. So, the result of that is we may have some spread at schools that could have been prevented,” Haney said.
“We need schools to be open. We need students in classrooms but we need to do it safely,” Lara said.
However, San Francisco school district officials say testing is just one part of the school district’s COVID safety plan
“I also want to reiterate that testing is not required to return to school. It’s one of a number of layers of protection that we have in place for students and staff. We’re also going to continue to our other layers of protection such as wearing a mask, daily health screening, and encouraging everyone eligible to get a vaccine and a booster,” Dudnik said.