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CHULA VISTA, Calif. – With the COVID-19 case rates higher than average in the South Bay, getting kids back into the classrooms in Chula Vista may seem like a distant reality.

However, the Chula Vista Elementary School District believes testing and contact tracing for students is the answer.

“I think the ability to check gives people the imputes to continue their behaviors of wearing a mask, washing their hands,” Superintendent Francisco Escobedo told FOX 5.

Many people don’t know if they currently have COVID-19, or have ever had it and now possess the antibodies, because they’ve never been tested. Escobedo believes if you find out you’re virus-free and have been, it will reinforce the good decisions you’ve made so far. Additionally, if you test positive, you are able to limit the spread before others get it.

That’s part of the reason why the district has teamed up with Kahala Biosciences out of Irvine to offer antibody and virus testing at different elementary schools over the next six weeks. The goal is to simulate what it would be like if they did frequent testing during the school year, and the hope is that constant checking could mitigate spread.

“It took maybe five minutes total and they gave me a finger prick and swabbed my nose,” said a teacher who stopped by to get tested.

“I’ve never heard of any of my friends getting tested; I think I’m the first one,” said Malyna Hodge, a student who stopped by Lauderbach Elementary Friday for testing.

Additionally, in partnership with the City of Chula Vista and Family Health Centers of San Diego, the district will host no-cost viral testing (a shallow nose swab) for students, their families and school staff at an additional five school sites. The host schools would be Harborside, Loma Verde, Mueller, Otay, and Rosebank. The program would be offered in the middle of November.