The state of California delivered 56,700 COVID-19 test kits to the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) on Monday evening for distribution to school districts across the county.
The at-home kits are intended specifically for TK-12 public school students as part of a program announced by Governor Newsom in December to meet the surging demand as case rates spike due to the Omicron variant.
The tests are iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Tests and include two tests per pack. The tests can be administered at home via nasal swab with results occurring in 15 minutes. Local school districts are coordinating distribution to students and families.
The state ordered 6 million at-home test kits last month to be distributed to school districts through county education offices. The demand for testing and the shortage of tests have created pressures on school districts statewide as campuses reopen following the winter break.
The Governor’s Office announced in December that each TK-12 student would receive 1-2 test kits free-of-charge (excluding districts that previously received test kits and/or have other direct sources for at-home test kits).
Preschool and childcare centers have also been provided with information about how they may request test kits at no cost from the CA State COVID-19 Testing Task Force.
In addition to the tests being distributed today, SBCEO is seeking additional tests for private schools, preschools, school employees, as well as future test kit deliveries after this round of distribution is complete.
The state intended for the kits to arrive and be delivered to students before the return from winter break, but logistical issues have created delays.
“We have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our allotment of at-home test kits. They provide needed relief to our students and families and are a critical tool for helping our schools mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Susan Salcido, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools. “We greatly appreciate this and any support our schools receive that helps keep our students, staff, and families safe and healthy.”