County gets 193,000 test kits for school districts; still short of promised supply

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO — County education officials were busy at a San Diego warehouse Wednesday morning, distributing nearly 200,000 at-home COVID-19 tests to representatives from local school districts and charter schools.

The kits are part of the state’s plan to get as many students as possible tested after their winter break and during a holiday coronavirus surge increasingly driven by the omicron variant. But many local schools still hadn’t received their promised test kits Wednesday, even as students have already returned to the classroom.

Tests originally meant to be available by the new year were delayed “at the state level,” San Diego officials said this week. The San Diego County Office of Education’s initial allotment of 193,000 kits arrived Tuesday afternoon.

That’s short of the expected 400,000 kits, so the SDCOE put out a call to district leaders around the county and allowed officials to sign up for Wednesday pick-up on a first-come, first-serve basis. More will be distributed when they arrive, officials said.

The distribution event was for district representatives only Wednesday. Schools and charter systems that get the kits will then contact families about how they can get their tests. Parents should not try to attend the event and get kits directly.

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged 6 million at-home, rapid antigen tests for California schools so that students could get tested as they returned from winter break. The state has attributed delays in that process to “unprecedented storms” in the U.S. over the past two weeks, but a spokesperson noted that half of those tests — around 3 million — had been delivered elsewhere in California by Monday.

San Diego Unified School District, the region’s largest, set its own plan in motion to send all students home for break with rapid at-home tests. Other local districts offered their own alternatives to the state program, as well, but were relying on the state to supplement their efforts.

Beyond at-home tests, there are no-cost COVID-19 testing sites available around San Diego County.

FOX 5’s Jacqueline Sarkissian contributed to this report.

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