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COVID Self-Test Kits Promised By California Haven’t Reached Schools Yet

Parents and students wearing masks are lined up outside a school on Los Angeles Unified School District's first day of in-person school.
Students and parents lined up waiting to show a "daily pass" outside Normont Elementary School in Harbor City.
(Kyle Stokes
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Districts throughout California are scrambling to provide adequate COVID-19 testing to students.

“The Department of Public Health is working through some distribution challenges,” said Tony Thurmond, the state’s superintendent of public instruction. “There's really no other way to say it.”

In December, Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged to provide kits so students could be tested "as they return to school from winter break." But L.A. County officials say they’re still waiting to receive one million rapid self-test kits promised by the state.

“What I've been told is that there have been delays caused by weather, and that there are efforts around the clock trying to get this backlog to be addressed,” said Thurmond. “It's disappointing that the tests have not reached all of the places that they need to reach,”

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County officials say they've distributed almost 400,000 kits to schools so far.

The L.A. Unified School District is requiring a negative test from all students — including those who are fully vaccinated — before they can return to campus next Tuesday.

A district spokesperson said rapid tests will be available for pickup on Friday and Saturday morning at their grab-and-go sites, and each student will receive two tests. A list of pick up locations can be found here.

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