LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — The Los Alamitos School District and the Capistrano Unified School District will be handing out free COVID-19 at-home tests kits for some of their students tomorrow. However, it's not as much as they had hoped.
The California Dept. of Public Health delivered less than half of the nearly 457,000 at-home COVID-19 testing kits promised to the Orange County Dept. of Education, which is tasked with distributing the tests to school districts and charter schools countywide.
Orange County Dept. of Education spokeswoman Nichole Pichardo told Spectrum News that the county on Wednesday only received 191,376 antigen test kits – 42% of what was expected.
"OCDE has been following up with state health officials, and recent conversations with the CDPH confirm that more shipments are expected," said Pichardo in an email to Spectrum News Thursday. "OCDE staffs are actively working [on getting] available tests out to local districts and schools as quickly as possible, revising immediate allocations based on the inventory on hand."
Pichardo did not say how the county distributed the few tests they received. She also did not say when the county expects to receive the other half of the shipment from the state.
The COVID-19 tests arrive as students at some Orange County school districts prepare to return to campus for the second semester of school next week amid a spike in coronavirus cases across the state.
The countywide uptick of cases from the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus has many anxious parents hesitant to have their child return to campus, and others are concerned it could disrupt in-person classes.
District officials are offering the test kits as a way for anxious parents to test their kids and help slow the coronavirus's spread.
The school districts are not requiring students to get tested or provide a documented negative test before returning to school. The tests are given out free as a precaution and to slow the transmission of the virus.
After distributing tests, at least one school district in Sacramento reported 500 positive COVID-19 cases among its students and staff. Those students and staff are now quarantining.
The state, which ordered six million tests last month, promised to deliver the tests statewide to school districts before the start of the second semester of the school year.
But a combination of bad weather and other logistical problems hampered those efforts. The state delivered only half of the six million tests as of Wednesday, the LA Times reported, while the other half are en route.
On Wednesday, state school superintendent Tony Thurmond called the delay in shipping out the tests "unfortunate" and "disappointing."
Despite receiving fewer antigen tests, school districts across the county still plan to hand them out to district families — but with some limitations.
Capistrano Unified plans to distribute its initial allotment of test kits on Friday to families of students in kindergarten to fifth grade.
Meanwhile, the Los Alamitos School District will host a drive-through distribution event from 9 a.m. until supplies last Friday at their district offices in Los Alamitos. District officials said that families would need to provide proof of verification that their child is enrolled at a school in the district to receive an antigen at-home test kit.