California sends millions of COVID-19 tests to schools for the return from spring break

In an effort to prepare school districts across the state to test students for COVID-19 when they return from spring break, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office has begun sending out COVID-19 testing kits to schools.

The state has already shipped 14.3 million COVID-19 at-home tests for students and staff, the governor’s office said Saturday. The state said 11 million tests have already been delivered, while an additional 2.6 million tests have been shipped. Statewide, there are about 7.2 million students and staff.

“California is focused on keeping schools open and students safe, and we’re not letting our guard down,” Newsom said in a statement.

In December, as the nation faced another surge in coronavirus cases from the highly contagious Omicron variant, state officials announced they would send 6 million tests to school districts so students could get tested before returning to the classroom. But only half of the promised tests arrived in time, prompting frustration. The governor’s office blamed weather conditions and supply chain shortages for the delay.

The state is currently not seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and conditions have improved since then, with the state no longer requiring masks on campuses. In early March, Los Angeles County dropped its indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, after data showed the coronavirus community level was low.

Spring break is coming up across the state. For Los Angeles Unified students, it runs from April 11 through April 15.

Already, some school officials have signaled that they intend to test students when they return from spring break. LAUSD, the second-largest district in the nation, has said it will conduct baseline testing before students and staff return.

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