Local School Districts Offer COVID Testing to Students and Staff

Kamari Esquerra

COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Riverside County, as well as the number of people getting tested. 

Palm Springs Unified School District said they are trying to make the process as easy as possible in an effort to keep all students and staff safe.

“We have a good amount of students and staff that are getting tested,” said Laura Dyson, District Supervising Nurse. “Some sites are running upwards of 30, 40 tests a day.”

The district is making it easier to trace positive COVID-19 cases within schools by offering free testing for students and staff members.

“We have a really robust testing program actually,” said Dyson. “We offer testing five days a week at all our sites, and additionally, we’re offering testing at our district site five days a week as well.” 

Deserts Sands Unified School District will also begin administering not only COVID-19 tests, but also vaccines.

“We get the results in 24 to 36 hours. And it’s PCR test, it’s very reliable,” said Laura Fisher, Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services. “We also are beginning to offer vaccine clinics too.”

Contract tracing is a complex process for school officials as they return to in-person learning after over a year online. They said on-site tests will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.

“It’s so important because it helps us catch those infections quicker and begin that contact tracing process as soon as we know about the positive case,” said Dyson. “If we don’t know about it, then obviously, we can’t do anything about it so that’s why the testing piece is so important.”

Desert Sands Lead Nurse Susan Kadel said what parents do at home can protect students in the classroom.

“Really do that symptom checker everyday on your students,” said Kadel. “If they aren’t feeling 100%, maybe they’re a little tired, maybe they have a headache, sniffles- please keep them home.”

Both PSUSD and DSUSD said on-site COVID-19 testing adds an additional sense of protection for students and staff on campus.

“Having that convenience of being able to just be tested right then and there really just helps increase our rate of testing which adds a layer of protection for our school community,” said Dyson.

 

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