Glendale Schools Receive At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Workers at Glendale Unified School District prepare at-home COVID-19 test kits for distribution among its student population.
Photos provided by GUSD

By Bethany BROWN

On Dec. 22, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the California Dept. of Public Health would be providing at-home COVID-19 test kits for every K-12 student. The test kits for Glendale Unified School District arrived following winter break and were distributed to all students on Thursday, Jan. 13 and Friday, Jan. 14.

Each student received one kit that contains two at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Administrators encouraged students to take one of the tests before returning to campus on Tuesday of this week after the three-day weekend.

GUSD administered 18,522 tests at district testing clinics between Monday, Jan. 3 and Monday, Jan. 10. All students and staff were required to receive a negative test result in order to return to campus following winter break.

After observing a 7.9% positivity rate during this time, the district remains committed to ensuring the safety of its students and employees by requiring masks be worn indoors and outdoors, unless actively eating or drinking, supplying KN-95 masks to staff and surgical masks for students, adhering to CDC social distancing and quarantine guidelines and providing free daily COVID-19 testing at all school sites.

Tests at school sites are available for students and employees Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Evening testing is also available from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the district office, 223 N. Jackson St. in Glendale.

GUSD Superintendent Dr. Vivian Ekchian expressed her gratitude to the staff of Vital Medical Services that had “been outside for more than 12 hours a day” to provide COVID-19 testing to district employees and students. She continued to express her appreciation to all, noting that she is hopeful the Glendale Unified community will come out of this pandemic stronger and united.

“Thank you to our amazing students and families who have patiently waited in long lines to get tested and make sure you’re healthy to return to school,” Dr. Ekchian said. “Thank you to our dedicated board members, administrators, teachers and staff who have never stopped putting the needs of our children first … I know that we will get through this together.”

The Biden-Harris Administration announced federal measures it is taking to help schools meet their testing goals. It will soon be sending five million free rapid tests and five million free PCR tests to schools across the nation each month to help K-12 schools stay open.

Additionally, on Jan. 6 the CDC endorsed the recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) to expand eligibility of booster doses to those aged 12 to 15 years old. The CDC now recommends that adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old should receive a booster shot five months after their initial vaccination series.

“Vaccination continues to be our strongest defense against the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Ekchian. “We strongly encourage all community members to get vaccinated and receive a booster dose of the vaccine if you are eligible.”

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky further emphasized the importance of booster doses to broaden and strengthen protection against omicron and other SARS-CoV-2 variants.

“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” Dr. Walensky said. “This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the omicron variant. I really encourage all parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.”