Long Lines at COVID-19 Testing Sites as Students Return to School

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As students return to the classroom, Bay Area school districts are hoping families consider testing children before heading to school.

However, many are facing challenges as families struggle to find at-home COVID-19 tests and lines at testing sites are longer than ever.

At Walnut Creek Intermediate School, parents picked up free rapid antigen tests Monday. The tests, which came from the state, are not required but rather requested after the winter break.

A father who dropped off his kids at school after they tested negative spoke to NBC Bay Area and said his testing experience was "really easy."

"We got a message saying 'we're having a drive up,' and we just pulled up and they said 'how many do you need?'."

NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, pediatric COVID expert and physician at Stanford, about the coronavirus surge with kids and young teens.

Mt Diablo Unified School District was offering testing at the Willow Creek Center. People can expect results in two to three days, which is a tight turnaround as classes begin on Wednesday.

Suzanna Arredondo works for the district and said her and her son were just tested.

"It's worth it," she said. "It's good for sanity and you're helping everybody else."

On the Peninsula, a similar scene with long lines for COVID-19 PCR tests was seen at Foster City Elementary School.

For those who couldn't wait, they're also passing out 10,000 at-home rapid test kits Monday and Tuesday at Foster City School sites.

At-home tests are also being handed out Monday at Orinda schools.

In Oakland, 41,000 take home tests were distributed before the winter break.

"We feel like we reached the vast majority of people across the district and that's in large part due to the state," said John Sasaki with the Oakland Unified School District.

The question now is how well will this testing push work? Most school districts say they won't know for a couple of days as attendance numbers and testing results roll in.

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