Timeline of California school reopening 2021
Image from the Public Health Institute, Safely Opening Schools, Final Evaluation Report 2021
Ten districts participated in the SOS learning collaborative including completing SOS training, implementing the twice-weekly rapid antigen testing model with staff and students, taking part in an evaluation, and sharing their learnings with other districts.
- Week 0: Districts identify their SOS team, attend a kick-off meeting, and complete registration materials.
- Week 1: Districts begin training, set up data platform with Primary.Health, and reach out to parent community for consent.
- Week 2: Districts begin testing onsite staff and teachers, refining their testing process and flow.
- Week 3: Districts expand testing to include students.
- Week 4-8: District works to ramp up testing so that all onsite students and staff are tested weekly
School Districts who Participated
Compton Unified School District
Fresno Unified School District
La Honda Pescadero School District
McSwain Union Elementary School District
Oakland Unified School District
Planada Elementary School District
Ravenswood City School District
Redwood City School District
Rosemead School District
Weaver Union School District
Four Pillars of Testing in Schools
Testing is proved to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through early identification and isolation of positive cases, including people who are not sick. Rapid antigen tests involve a simple, self-collected nasal swab that provides results within 15 minutes.
The SOS project partnered with Primary.Health for COVID-19 testing used by the SOS pilot and the Sate of California, to record, process, and report rapid COVID-19 antigen test results.
Approaches to staffing varied across districts depending on their unique circumstances. Some districts utilized classified staff such as school nurses, health technicians, and/or staff hired specifically to support the COVID-19 response. Yet other districts chose to engage outside organizations, such as nursing students or other nurses, afterschool program providers, or other community-based organizations to conduct testing.
Consent and Participation
Obtaining consent from parents for their children to participate in the testing program was another challenge for pilot districts. Approaches included sharing information in a variety of modes – including electronic, paper, and in-person – and in different languages. Some districts also conducted personal outreach, such as phone calls and in-person communication, to help families understand the consent process and the importance of the testing program.
A special thank you to our supporters who are committed to advancing racial equity in health and education across California.
Unique individuals tested
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Safely Opening Schools is a project of the Public Health Institute, (PHI) PHI has been a leader in public health and development for over 50 years. PHI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a vision of creating healthy communities where individuals reach their highest potential. Safely Opening Schools is part of PHIs Prevention Policy Group, which works on policy approaches involved in safely opening public schools after Covid-19.