9,000 Castro Valley Unified students receive free COVID-19 tests

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Parents in a large East Bay school district picked up free COVID test kits during a four-hour window on New Year's Eve.

It's an effort to test all students in the Castro Valley Unified School District before returning to classes on Monday.

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With an enrollment of 9,000 students, the school district organized its give-away by having parents drive by to pick up the free test kits. One kit for each student. Each kit containing two tests.

The district wants one test to be administered now and the other on Sunday, ahead of classes resuming on Monday.

If the test is positive, the parent must report the results.

"The parents also know that this student needs to stay home. So our nurses and our staff follows up with the family to make sure that they quarantine the number of days they're supposed to quarantine and isolate," said Castro Valley Unified School District Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi.

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This is part of a statewide program Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week to provide six million at-home COVID tests for all public and charter school students.

The iHealth kit passed out has a retail value of $14. It's an antigen test that involves a nasal swab. The results are ready in 15 minutes.

A line under both the "C" and the "T" markers on the test strip indicates a positive test. A quarter-million students across Alameda County in 18 districts will also receive the test kits. Each district will decide how to handle distribution.

Parents were happy that the giveaway process went fast.

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"This is going so smoothly," said parent Jeanne-Marie French after picking up a kit. "It just took me the minute to drive up the hill and the minute to drive right through here, and that... It was very efficient, quick."

State school superintendent Tony Thurmond and county health officials used the event to stress the importance of vaccinations and testing.

"We want you to be safe," said Thurmond. "Take these tests. Have awareness before coming to school. If someone's not well, stay home and quarantine. Let's keep the rest of the school community safe."

School and health leaders stressed that on-going testing is important and to take advantage of free local test sites.

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