District offers weekly COVID-19 tests on campus for students and staff

When junior Kieran Zajac decided to get an on-campus COVID-19 test, he was happy with the convenience but a little frustrated with how long it took him to get his results back.

“I went on the first day the center opened outside the tower building and there were only a couple of other students who I saw getting tested,” Zajac said. “But after a week I saw more and more kids lining up. I usually go during brunch since the line is shorter, and it’s close to my classes.”

However, Zajac said he did have an issue with getting his test results once.

“I was told that I was going to be emailed within 48 hours but after waiting for four days, my parents got an email saying that my test was lost in the system,” Zajac said.

Now available for all students and staff, COVID-19 testing takes place on campus every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Quad. 

Students and staff have to make an appointment to get tested using a QR code that Principal Brent Kline sends in his weekly emails.  Sign-ups are also available on the PAUSD website. 

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results get emailed to the parent or guardian of the student getting tested or directly to the staff member getting tested. The cost for the testing is billed to the individual’s insurance company or if the person being tested does not have insurance, California will reimburse those who are uninsured. 

Board of education member Jennifer DiBrienza said every school in the district is practicing surveillance testing by offering regular testing of everyone whether or not they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. 

“Having surveillance testing gives everyone some peace of mind that the existence of (COVID-19) on campus is very low,” DiBrienza said.  “That (way) we are in a better position to catch an outbreak earlier because there are a lot more people going through this testing.”

Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson said he has been tested at Paly’s testing site and found the process simple and straightforward. 

“It was easy,” Berkson said. “I got to (test) myself for the first four out of five times, and this past time they did it for me.” 

Visit PAUSD’s website for more information on testing and the COVID-19 data in the district.