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Education

SLO County schools resume in-person learning amid COVID-19 surge; families to receive test kits this week

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While some schools throughout the nation are going back to online learning due to the current COVID-19 case surge, San Luis Obispo County schools are resuming in-person learning this week.

“For San Luis Obispo County, everyone was committed to returning to in-person instruction after the winter break,” said James Brescia, SLO County’s Superintendent of Schools.

Brescia said he feels in-person instruction is preferable to online learning, and that county schools are taking as many precautions as they can to prevent any spread of the virus.

“In San Luis Obispo County we have a very high vaccination rate for school employees," Brescia said. "Some agencies have it as high as 95 percent, and for school employees that aren’t vaccinated, they are tested weekly.”

Governor Gavin Newsom also wants to see schools stay open, and has sent more than six million at-home COVID-19 tests to schools for K-12 students to use upon returning from the holiday break.

But, the problem is, there’s a delay in several school districts getting the kits — with the governor's office citing weather that has caused transit issues.

“I was on the phone [Monday] with the other 57 county superintendents and about half of the counties have received the shipments," Brescia said. "We are anticipating we will receive ours today. But, I was on standby as early as last Friday and we still haven’t seen them yet.”

So, Brescia said, the kits may not arrive before all students in the area return. But once they do, Brescia said schools will be in touch with parents on a plan.

“Because each jurisdiction is governed independently, how they plan on distributing the test will be up to them,” Brescia said.

Brescia said students will not be required to take the COVID-19 tests in order to return to campus this week.

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