CVESD Safe! Testing and Tracing Program

CVESD Safe! Testing and Tracing Program Launched
Posted on 11/12/2020
Finger blood test

CVESD Safe! is a voluntary testing and tracing program that the Chula Vista Elementary School District launched October 26, rotating to six school sites over five days.

The District has partnered with the City of Chula Vista and private firm Kahala Biosciences as part of a multifaceted campaign to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The first phase of testing through Kahala Biosciences included both Antibody and Viral Testing at regional host campuses throughout the District. The schools consisted of Vista Square, Silver Wing (CVLCC), Olympic View, Muraoka, Castle Park and Lauderbach. Testing events rotated at those schools Monday through Friday.

Board Member TamayoPhase one consists of three rounds of testing. Subsequent testing opportunities will occur the week of November 16, and in December. Anyone can participate in the upcoming rounds of testing, even if they did not participate in the first round.

Employees from throughout the District, including certificated staff, provided tremendously positive feedback on this opportunity. More than 800 participants took part in the testing over the course of the week. Of those who took the viral test, three adults tested positive—including two individuals who had identified themselves as asymptomatic.

“That alone shows the value of proactive viral testing,” said Superintendent Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D. “Until recently, you had to have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive in order to receive a viral test. Our program enables students, families and staff to be tested as walk-ins if necessary—especially important given where we are located in San Diego County. Testing can help mitigate the spread. And for those who tested negative, they came away with a greater peace of mind knowing they did not have COVID-19.”

The information from this project will be used to help coordinate ways to mitigate risk to students, their families, teachers, staff, and the community once the District can return to in-person instruction.

COVID-19 testing is important in estimating rates of viral infection among the student population, teachers and staff, and family members. Viral testing helps communities know whether or not a gradual return to normal learning activities can be achieved without an increase in disease rates. Some major U.S. school districts (L.A. Unified, NYC Dept. of Education) have adopted a similar strategy of deploying widespread COVID-19 testing, tracing, and symptom monitoring to guide and modify return-to-school measures.

“I want to extend a special thank you to the members of our Scientific Advisory Board from UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and Center for Community Health, who lent their expertise to ensure the success of our testing and tracing events at local schools throughout the week,” said John Tanner, Chief Executive Officer, Kahala Biosciences.

COVID testingIn addition to Kahala Biosciences, CVESD’s partnership with the City of Chula Vista and Family Health Centers of San Diego, will also launch soon and provide no cost viral testing (shallow nose swab) for students, their families and school staff at an additional five schools. The host schools will be Harborside, Loma Verde, Mueller, Otay, and Rosebank.

Separately, the County’s Health and Human Services Agency operates testing locations throughout the South County. Most sites require no appointments. Information is at 211sandiego.org. Also, in partnership with the County Office of Education, County Public Health has established four regional testing sites exclusively for K-12 teachers and staff (no students), including a site at 650 L Street in Chula Vista. In addition, the City of Chula Vista is operating a no-appointment drive-up testing site at the South Chula Vista Branch Library.  

All testing providers employ medical professionals including nursing staff and Kahala will also be providing a physician each day they test. This staff is accustomed to working with both adult and minor patients.

The testing providers are required to follow HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines for patient confidentiality. In addition, the District has received guidance from public health officials on how District personnel should respond to positive or suspected positive cases while maintaining participant confidentiality.

Medical professionals and District staff will receive notice when a student or staff member tests positive in order to assist in tracing close contacts and to mitigate the spread.

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