Santa Cruz COE COVID-19 Testing For School Community
Schools and Districts are working to keep students and staff safe and our classrooms open. Testing is one layer in a multi-layered approach to COVID-19 prevention, in addition to other key measures such as vaccination, mask-wearing, improved ventilation, physical distancing, and respiratory and hand hygiene. We are partnering with Inspire Diagnostics to conduct school-based testing using the PCR test. This testing is optional for students. Students who participate will be eligible for Modified Quarantine if they are exposed to a positive case at school. This will allow them to stay in school during the quarantine period.
Here is the latest on the status of our major testing initiatives:
Weekly on-site PCR testing: Most schools in our county will be offering PCR testing on-site to all students who opt-in. In cases where students may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the testing is offered twice weekly. In the weeks ahead, we are working to expand on-site testing to the overwhelming majority of public, private and charter schools countywide. Please contact your school principal to sign up. We have created a frequently asked questions (FAQ) to provide more clarity about the program.
Drive-through PCR testing: Three outdoor drive-through PCR testing sites are now open to the entire school community. These sites are available for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, and most test results are returned within 24-hours — comparatively, faster than most alternatives. Students and their families, and staff and their families are welcome to utilize this free service. Those needing a test simply need to fill out the registration one time at http://sccoe.link/inspiresc and go to any site. No appointment is required. Locations/times:
Santa Cruz County Office of Education Annex parking lot, 399 Encinal St, from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Cabrillo College in Aptos, Parking Lot K, from 2 p.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
PVUSD District Office parking lot, available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.
Rapid-response antigen testing: Hundreds of school staff from across the county have been trained to administer rapid-response antigen testing to provide an additional layer of surveillance in cases of on-campus exposure.
Understandably, many families have questions about the various testing initiatives, and we have a FAQ section addressing most common questions. A virtual town hall meeting took place September 9, during which questions were answered and further updates on our COVID-19 response were shared.
The level of inter-district coordination involved in these initiatives is difficult to overstate, and we understand to be unusual in our state, even under the current circumstances. Inspire Diagnostics, our primary testing partner, has our gratitude for enabling this level of testing in our schools. And above all else, our persistent focus on increasing testing capacity across Santa Cruz County reflects our foundational commitment: ensuring our students are healthy, and our classrooms are open.