'Traffic Armageddon': Families spend hours in line to pick up free COVID test kits in Fremont

Lines of cars stretched on in multiple directions, crowding multiple intersections
FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of Fremont saw major traffic impacts Wednesday afternoon as parents waited for hours to get free at-home COVID test kits.

Lines of cars stretched on in multiple directions, crowding multiple intersections around the Fremont Unified School District offices.

"It's been traffic Armageddon," said teacher Jennifer Lafferty, "Just a nightmare."

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"I thought I was just going to drive in and drive out and that would be it," Josh Knoll, another teacher said, "I was not expecting a line to rival that of like, Disneyland."

At times, the tension and frustration among drivers could be seen and heard.

"Horns honking, and we kind of just had to be assertive because otherwise people wouldn't let you in," teacher and parent Stephanie Keller said.

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Thousands of Bay Area students are ready to return to school after winter break and getting tested is the first step before returning to class.

The congestion wasn't just impacting people trying to get tests at the district offices, but general traffic near Automall Parkway and 680 as well, leading the Fremont Police Department to send out an alert asking people to avoid the area.

Officers on loud speakers were heard telling drivers to find a parking lot so they could park and walk up to get tests.

"I just spent 40 minutes in my car and I just parked down the street and I walked up," said a parent, "I'm about to wait another 40 minutes in this line."

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District Superintendent CJ Cammack apologized, saying in a statement:

"FUSD regrets and takes responsibility for not having a more efficient process for distribution. I apologize that our staff and families waited longer than was reasonable, and for the inconvenience this caused our families, staff and neighbors in the Fremont community. I also extend my gratitude to the Fremont Police Department for their cooperation and support in the distribution."

Many parents at Wednesday's test hand out event, say it could have been handled differently.

"They should have just provided kits to the school and everybody should have divided up it would have been better I think," parent Sweta Bhagat said.

Another test pick-up event is scheduled for Thursday. The district said in its statement that they are planning adjustments for it and will be sending information to staff, students and the community Wednesday night.

Testing before classes resume January 10 was optional for students and staff.
Despite the frustrations among those who waited in line, most people agreed that the time spent was not in vain.

"It's a little bit of a wait but it's worth it," parent Nadia Khan said.

"We need the kids to be safe when school starts," said parent Ambika Mulchandani, "So it's worth it to keep the kids safe."


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