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Valley school districts preparing Covid tests for students’ return from spring break

Spring break for schools across the state is coming up and California public health officials are stockpiling millions of Covid tests to distribute them to students and school staff.

Statewide, 14.3 million tests are being sent out – about enough, officials said, to give two tests to each of the 7.2 million Californian students and staff members.

Valley school officials said tens of thousands of tests have already been deployed to local districts. Palm Springs Unified School District is expecting a shipment that will soon go out to school sites officials hope will detect cases early and keep Covid cases low.

"We're preparing to have our care rooms be fully stocked over the spring break holiday so that when the students come back, we're ready to go," said Laura Dyson, director of health services at Palm Springs Unified School District. "We've really seen a sharp, sharp decline in case rates and number of students who are coming out positive or even showing symptoms. We really hope that trend continues, but we're prepared if it doesn't."

Desert Sands Unified officials said in a statement the district "will be distributing state provided test kits to students prior to the beginning of spring break."

A Coachella Valley Unified spokesperson said Covid tests will be sent home with students for spring break, and some district sites for community testing will reopen as well.

It's a strategy Gov. Gavin Newsom put in place as part of the state's "SMARTER" plan to minimize Covid's spread.

Parents we spoke with support testing after traveling to protect students in the classroom.

"I recommend if you feel sick, just stay home and have the test done," said PSUSD parent Juanita Lopez.

"If its' like the flu, okay, once a year – but let's keep [Covid] down and controlled," said parent Elizabeth Finnell.

Parent Kylie Cole said she opted out of getting tests from her district because she's not traveling this spring break.

"We got an email from [my daughter's] school encouraging us to pick up our tests for each student," Cole said. "But I'm glad that they have the option."

State health officials said in addition to the tests, PPE is also being distributed. That includes more than 40 million masks, which remain optional in classrooms statewide, but recommended.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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