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Santa Barbara Unified tests teachers for COVID-19

Teacher COVID-19 testing underway in schools considering reopening
Teacher testing
SB Unified

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said the district is testing about 400 teachers and staff members a week in preparation for in-person learning, even though the district has not set a date for students to return to the classroom.

The district hired a company to run a drive-thru test site at the local armory.

Parents received a link to a video updating them on testing and classroom efforts to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

"We want to definitely know if there is any contact tracing or any potential infections with our staff that are currently working. We are happy to announce that to date there are no positive cases from that testing, but again we are doing 400 a week," said Maldonado.

Parents will be informed before making a decision about in-person learning when the county and state allows instruction on school grounds.

The most vulnerable students are the only in-person learning students at the moment.

Coaches were among the first to test, since some athletes including football players are practicing already.

"We are being methodical, and we are taking small steps so that we can run later, but we don't want to run into something without being ready," said Maldonado.

Schools preparing to reopen when county and state officials give them the go-ahead are being asked to test staff members every two months.

Santa Barbara County Deputy Health Officer Peggy Dodds, M.D., said, "As schools are considering reopening, we have asked that they perform periodic surveillance testing for COVID-19 on all staff members. This will help us to know if there is COVID-19 in the school and help prevent outbreaks. People can be contagious prior to symptoms developing and some people are contagious without ever developing symptoms.

Positive tests would trigger a quarantine.

"There is a window of about three days between when someone is exposed to the virus and when they become contagious. If we can catch individuals in these three days, and have them quarantine, we can help prevent the spread the COVID-19 virus," said Dr. Dodds.

To watch the district's video, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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