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COVID-19 test

WCCUSD adds COVID-19 test sites to keep kids safe at school

on January 5, 2022

Three more COVID-19 testing sites opened up this week for students and staff in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, which resumed in-person classes on Monday amid a coronavirus spike propelled by the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus.

The district already was offering tests at most schools and on Tuesday, added the Alvarado Adult School in Richmond, the Ohlone Elementary School campus in Hercules, and the district central office in Richmond to that list. Those sites are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to a district news release.

The release noted that student absences were higher than usual when classes resumed Monday after the winter break.

There were nearly 11,000 active COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa County on Wednesday, according to county Health Services, with Richmond seeing the highest numbers. Nearly 100 people were hospitalized with the virus, with 1 in 5 in intensive care. About 80% of the county has been vaccinated, and children over the age of 12 have an even higher vaccination rate. The district is working to get younger children vaccinated, as only about half of those ages 5-12 have received a dose of the vaccine.

Q&A: What WCCUSD parents want to know about the COVID-19 vaccine for young kids

“Please do not bring anyone to school who may have been exposed to the virus,” WCCUSD Superintendent Kenneth “Chris” Hurst said in the release, “instead we ask that you bring them to one of the new testing locations.”

The sites offer PCR tests for students and staff who test positive with an antigen test at home. Registration is required.

Last weekend, the district distributed 15,000 home test kits to families, so that students could be tested before returning to school. Hurst called it a “herculean effort” by staff and volunteers.

At the school sites, weekly and athletic testing continues and students do not need an appointment.

Unvaccinated students may push enrollment to the limit in WCCUSD’s virtual high school in January

The district has mandated vaccines for students over 12 to continue coming to school. Last month, it pushed back the vaccination deadline to Feb. 18. Students not fully vaccinated at that time will have to leave the district or shift to Vista Virtual Academy. The academy is bracing for an onslaught of new students that could push its resources to the limit.

WCCUSD joined Oakland Unified, Los Angeles Unified and several other school districts in mandating vaccines before Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that students statewide would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccination, beginning the first semester after a pediatric vaccine receives full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Vaccines for children younger than 16 currently only have emergency authorization.

Contra Costa Health Services provides information about the vaccines and where to get them on its website.

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