San Francisco Unified failed the covid testing test | #teacher | #children | #kids

It’s painful to admit it, but it’s true: The last time Oakland kicked San Francisco’s ass this thoroughly was the ’89 World Series. 

To wit: On the cusp of winter break, every Oakland Unified School District student attending class received a pair of at-home covid tests. Throughout the break, parents were sent numerous and detailed messages reminding them to administer one of those tests three days before the first day of school and the second on the Sunday before school resumed. And, for those parents who didn’t do this — or who left on vacation prior to the tests being handed out — there was an additional stopgap: Rapid testing could be undertaken on school campuses on the first day of school. 

All told, some 41,000 tests were disseminated to Oakland public school families. Some 21,000 results were uploaded to a central system. And, on the first day of school, nearly 1,000 students and staff stayed home because they’d tested positive.  

No, taking the tests was not mandatory. Uploading the results was not mandatory. But, bottom line, in Oakland, free tests were put in families’ hands. Families were given every opportunity and many reminders over the break to administer the multiple free tests. Some parents may have ignored this — and, perhaps, some pathological person knowingly sent sick kids to school. But, by and large, tens of thousands of parents and kids followed the rules: Students and staff showed up having tested negative or stayed home. 

“It really worked the way we wanted it to,” said Oakland public school spokesman John Sasaki. “Pretty close to 1,000 people were informed they should be staying home and getting better and not coming to school. And that’s great for adults and great for students.” 

Students in Berkeley, Marin, and Contra Costa were also provided with at-home tests. Students in San Francisco were not. So it’s unclear if things worked out the way the San Francisco Unified School district wanted them to. Hopefully not, because that, too, would be pathological. 

San Francisco public school parents were not provided at-home tests for their kids but, on the eve of school restarting, they were encouraged to get kids tested nevertheless. This is a terrible message to send, especially because it came at a time that testing centers resembled the Coronet Theatre during Star Wars’ opening weekend and when tracking down test kits in stores felt like a dystopian hunt for a Tickle-Me Elmo. 

Well, that wasn’t fun for this San Francisco public school parent. It was even less fun than watching, in person, as Dennis Eckersley beat Brett Butler to the bag for the final out in ’89. I have asked the District to explain the thought process behind its actions (or, more accurately, inactions). I have not yet received an adequate response. It warrants mentioning that Oakland Unified has a contract with Primary Health and San Francisco Unified contracts with Color. Regardless, that doesn’t get to the thought process. Not providing tests for kids coming back from winter break is something a district does — and then must explain.  

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