'Our priority': CA to send out millions of COVID tests for students returning to class in January

Governor Gavin Newsom announced six-million rapid tests will be sent out to every K-12 public school in California free of charge.

Dustin Dorsey Image
Thursday, December 23, 2021
CA to send out millions of COVID tests for K-12 students
Governor Gavin Newsom announced California will be sending out about 6 million rapid tests for K-12 students before returning to school in January.

SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- Even facing a rise in coronavirus cases amid the surge of omicron, Governor Gavin Newsom did not hesitate on an important issue in the state of California: he wants to keep kids in schools.

One way the state plans to do this is expanding testing access by sending out millions of tests to students.

"I do not want to see our schools shut down," Gov. Newsom said. "Let there be no doubt. That is our commitment and that is our priority."

RELATED: Experts encourage more COVID testing as cases in children rise

Coming off of the first full semester of in-person learning since the pandemic began, Governor Newsom announced six-million rapid tests will be sent out to every K-12 public school in California free of charge.

This will allow for access for at least 1 to 2 tests for students before returning to classes in January after the holidays.

"We want to make sure they come back in as good as shape as they left, meaning we want to make sure we are testing our kids and preparing them in-person instruction," Gov. Newsom said.

VIDEO: What to know about rapid COVID at-home tests

The demand for COVID-19 testing has surged as President Biden is making 500 million free rapid tests available to Americans next month.

San Jose Unified School Board President Carla Collins says the commitment to the health and safety of California students and staff by the Governor helps keep them where they belong: in the classroom.

The South Bay's largest school district saw cases, but did not have any significant outbreaks amongst the more than 25,000 students last semester.

"(The Governor's plan) is good news and the right news and what we want to hear," Collins said. "What we've learned is that what we've known all along: this is a really horrible pandemic that we're still right in the middle of. But, safety measures work."

Measures like masking, vaccinating, including 95% of staff and now testing, as laid out in the Governor's plan.

RELATED: CDC: Testing students who were exposed to COVID an option over home quarantine

Collins says the district will do what they can to keep everyone safe, even if that means distributing tests during the final week of vacation next week.

"That's what everyone has always done, the staff has really always gone above and beyond to make sure that safety is the number one priority for all of the students and all of the families," Collins said.

SJUSD schools return from holiday break on January 4.