Prior to the January 4, 2022 return to school, hundreds of Coronado students, teachers, and staff participated in Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) free COVID testing held at the Coronado Middle School. Under the direction of school nurses, participants self-administered nasal swab tests and received results via text or email within one hour of testing.
Superintendent Karl Mueller notified CUSD families of the district’s free pop-up testing center in an email Sunday afternoon. While CUSD is not requiring a negative COVID test for students to be on campus, the district is suggesting “all students, regardless of vaccination status, take a COVID test prior to returning to school.” Following the California state mandate, CUSD continues to require everyone to wear a face mask for all indoor activities.
The CUSD COVID testing center was open between 8am and 11am on Monday, January 3. Shortly after opening, hundreds of people waited in a line that extended around the block. Fortunately, the testing center was able to accommodate everyone who waited to take a COVID test. Both Superintendent Mueller and School Board Vice President Helen Anderson Cruz worked at the testing center to ensure a smooth and efficient process.
Coronado is fortunate that CUSD planned ahead to order a large number of COVID tests – 15,000 rapid antigen tests and 5,000 take-home antigen tests. The CUSD testing center used the Abbott Binax NOW rapid antigen test that has been approved for children as young as two years old. Alternative testing sites at pharmacies or the San Diego County locations currently have around a five to seven day wait before appointments are available. Over the counter at-home COVID antigen tests are in limited supply and cost approximately $10 per test.
In recent weeks, the news has reported a sharp increase in COVID cases due to the more contagious Omicron variant. Several schools and colleges across the country are starting January classes online. The CUSD health team is closely monitoring data and continuously refining plans and protocols in an effort to keep Coronado schools open for in-person instruction. Superintendent Mueller acknowledged the uncertainty of the times and has committed to frequent email updates to the CUSD community.
UPDATE Jan. 3, 2022, 5:30pm – According to an email from Superintendent Mueller this afternoon, “We have been notified that the California Department of Health will release new K-12 school guidelines tomorrow. New guidelines and new ‘Decision Tree’ recommendations will change the isolation/quarantine protocols and we will be able to give specific timelines for return to school requirements. We will include any new information in tomorrow’s letter.”
Regarding school resuming on Jan. 4, “There is no testing requirement to return to school tomorrow. However, if your student has tested positive within the past ten days, has COVID symptoms, or has been in close contact with a confirmed case, please keep them home from school tomorrow.”