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California sends 14.3 million COVID-19 tests to schools as students and staff return from spring break

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As part of Governor Newsom’s SMARTER plan, the state’s stockpile of COVID-19 tests has been deployed to prepare for the return of students and staff to school after spring break

There are about 7.2 million students and staff in the state, and California has sent 14.3 million tests to schools

SACRAMENTO — In the past month, with an estimated 7.2 million students and staff entering and leaving spring break, the state has distributed more than 14.3 million at-home COVID-19 tests to schools for students and staff. In partnership with local county offices of education, the state assigned tests based on the total number of students and staff — in public and private schools — in each county.

A key part of Governor Newsom’s SMARTER plan, the state has maintained operational readiness and stockpiles of resources to rapidly distribute testing to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Click here for the b-roll of the state’s distribution of COVID-19 tests for students and school staff.

“California is focused on keeping schools open and students safe, and we are not letting our guard down,” Governor Newsom said. “We know COVID-19 is still present in our communities, but the SMARTER plan is how we keep people safe and keep the state moving forward.”

In addition to these tests, the state has made personal protective equipment (PPE) available for any school that needs it – having already distributed more than 40.6 million KN95, N95 and surgical masks to schools since the return. winter vacation. Throughout the pandemic, the state has distributed over a billion units of PPE to schools, including items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and more.

California has become a national leader in preventing school closings and keeping students in the classroom. As the New York Times highlighted in mid-October, California has “remarkably well contained outbreaks,” accounting for 1% of the nation’s school closures despite educating 12% of the nation’s students. At the start of the winter holidays, the State improved that rate to 0.3% of school closures nationwide.

To help facilitate the deployment and administration of these tests, the California Department of Public Health has distributed materials to schools to further highlight this testing program, such as images and social media posts, including:

the SMARTER planThe state’s main pillars and preparedness actions focus on vital public health measures and strategies the state has successfully employed to slow the spread and protect Californians. Recognizing that each variant brings with it unique characteristics relative to the specific conditions of our neighborhoods and communities, the Plan preserves the necessary flexibility and ensures that the state has the resources and capabilities in place to meet the challenges of COVID-19. that await us. The SMARTER plan maintains the state’s focus on targeted investments and awareness to address health disparities related to COVID-19 in disproportionately affected communities. The plan includes a new COVID-19 Assessment and Response Unit to monitor frontline data and conditions in real time. It also relies on a strong regional wastewater surveillance and genome sequencing network to gain early and rapid insight into the changing nature of the virus and early identification of variants.

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