In the News

California to Offer Affordable Rapid COVID Tests to School Districts Returning to Campus

A virtual meeting led by State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond discussed PHI’s Safely Opening Schools pilot, which uses on-site, rapid COVID-19 screening to aid school reopening efforts in California. The pilot and availability of testing for school districts was covered by the Sacramento Bee, ABC-TV Fresno and other media outlets.

  • Sacramento Bee
child working at school wearing a mask

California is offering affordable rapid COVID-19 testing to school employees and students returning to campuses in an effort to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The BinaxNow tests will be available to school districts and will provide results in 15 minutes, according to the California Department of Education, which is working to identify school districts that are interested in testing students.

The antigen testing will cost $5 per student, more affordable than tests previously used by school districts. Schools can use CARES Act funds, but the state indicated it is trying to offer the testing free to schools in the future.

On a virtual meeting led by State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond, officials shared a video showing elementary aged children swabbing the inside of both of their nostrils and handing the swabbing stick to a school employee.

“I strongly believe that while we wait for a full vaccine rollout, we also need to be moving toward a strategy for the deployment of rapid COVID testing that is cost-effective for schools,” Thurmond said. “This is one tool in our tool box — but an important one. Rapid COVID testing is a game changer. With mounting data that students are suffering from mental health issues and learning disruptions, rapid testing is a real help for districts looking for ways to get students safely back into classrooms.”

Click the image below to watch the Fresno ABC30 news story.

Click below to read the full story in the Sacramento Bee.

Originally published by Sacramento Bee

More Updates

Work With Us

You change the world. We do the rest. Explore fiscal sponsorship at PHI.

Bring Your Work to PHI

Support Us

Together, we can accelerate our response to public health’s most critical issues.


Find Employment

Begin your career at the Public Health Institute.

See Jobs

Aerial view of wildfire smoke


Wildfires & Extreme Heat: Resources to Protect Yourself & Your Community

Communities across the U.S. and around the world are grappling with dangerous wildfires and extreme heat. These threats disrupt and uproot communities and pose serious risks to environmental and community health—from rising temperatures, unhealthy air pollutants, water contamination and more. Find PHI tools, resources and examples to help communities take action and promote climate safety, equity and resiliency.

Get started

Continue to