Bay Area school districts ramp up COVID testing as sites get overwhelmed before classes resume

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Parents around the Bay Area pushed to get their kids tested as omicron cases continue to surge. While not mandatory, school districts recommended testing and some were quickly overwhelmed by the number of families who showed up.

In Oakland, four schools were testing sites on Monday. They were up and running by 8 a.m. this morning.

RELATED: Bay Area schools offer COVID testing before classes resume after holidays

Yesterday, many parents refused to wait after seeing the long lines for testing offered at Fremont High School.

Dasha Phan, an Oakland student tested negative last Friday and then again yesterday. Still, she was asked to get tested again today by a concerned teacher.

"At school I didn't feel so well. I just coughed one time and then my voice was like changing," explained Dasha.

"My advice is if you have any symptoms please do the test right away and stay home if your don't feel well," said her mother, Dep Phan.

RELATED: Some Bay Area families wait 7+ hours for PCR COVID testing as stores sell out of at-home tests

"It seems that attendance was lower and across the district today," observed Sarah Goudy, an Oakland teacher.

But it's too soon to know how many have tested positive for COVID after the break.

Still, Goudy believes districts should have been better prepared.

"Weather gets bad and more people gather inside and travel for the holidays and there is a potential for a new variant, this can get really bad," added Goudy.

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So many families gathered this weekend, but COVID-19 didn't hide as Santa Claus was coming to town.



On Sunday, San Francisco Unified administered more than 1,000 tests. With omicron being so infectious, for many school districts testing has become more important than ever.

"I think it shows that our message is reaching communities and that's a good thing. We want people to know how to access testing and have that information available if that is what they chose to do," explained SFUSD spokesperson, Laura Dudnick.

Monday, the rapid Color testing was available at San Francisco district headquarters but by noon they had run out, leaving many confused. San Francisco Unified then began sending messages to families to let them know where to find other testing locations throughout the city.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Department of Health reassured the district that in person learning is safe. Schools, they say are low-risk settings for transmission when all the safety measures are followed.

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