SF school hands out COVID take-home tests to students, with 1 caveat

Despite the excitement, school is asking kids not to use the test kits unless they feel sick

Amy Hollyfield Image
ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Thursday, January 13, 2022
SF school hands out COVID take-home tests, with 1 caveat
The slow roll-out of COVID take home tests for California students is finally happening this week in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The slow roll-out of COVID take home tests for California students is finally happening this week in San Francisco.

Governor Gavin Newsom had pledged to get the tests to kids before they returned from winter break. But officials said winter weather delayed the shipments.

The San Francisco Unified School district is handing out the tests all this week and expects to have them all distributed by the end of the day Friday.

Six hundred tests arrived at West Portal School Wednesday night.

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Reporters were invited to watch them being handed out Thursday.

Principal Lauren Ashton says parents have been wanting the tests.

"They have been asking for them and they know they have been coming. The demand has been really high. These rapid tests are hard to find anywhere. We are really excited they are finally here and we are able to get them out," Ashton said.

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But despite the excitement, she is asking the kids not to use them unless they feel sick.

"We're telling families to hold on to them, really only use these tests if your child is showing COVID-19 symptoms or if they are unvaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19."

Ashton went on to say they are too valuable to use without reason.

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"This is a one-time shipment from the state. If you really are not showing symptoms and are vaccinated, there is no need to test just to test. We want to hold on to them."

San Francisco's teachers union is in negotiations with the district for safer conditions at school, with some teachers staging a sick out last week to protest. One demand has been for more testing.

The district would not say if these take home kits will be enough to satisfy that demand.

"I can't really get into the details of the negotiations right now, but we want to make sure everyone feels safe in schools and continues to follow protocol. The San Francisco Department of Health has reiterated that in-person learning is safe," said District Spokesperson Laura Dudnick.

The district also has N95 masks to hand out to teachers, which was another demand from the union. The union also has stated it wants school children wearing N95 masks, too.