All students and staff tested weekly for COVID

Weekly COVID testing has been implemented to help reduce the risk of quarantines.

As of a Tuesday on October 5, MacArthur students and staff are now required to test for COVID-19.  The tests, provided by Accurate Health Care, are done via cheek swab.  For the month of October, students take them during their P.E. period every Tuesday outside of the fitness room, while staff are also to be tested on Tuesdays, choosing when to go during the day. 

On testing days, students are to go to the fitness room, where testing tables are put.  After waiting in line, students provide their I.D. and name to the testers, and then students have their oxygen levels measured by an oximeter.  They are also asked about possible symptoms and if relatives have contracted the virus.  Students cough into their mask five times, then complete the procedure with a cheek swab. 

Before testing began, all students and staff had to complete a consent form.  Parents and guardians were able to access the consent form on ParentSquare.  Hard copies were given out, too.

Originally, there was a concern that students who did not have their form signed would no longer be able to attend school. However, Principal Mr. Ray Gonzales dispensed this theory and said, “Actually, that’s an inaccuracy. All students are allowed to come to school for now,” adding that testing was a pilot that MacArthur was trying out. 

Students of MacArthur left campus on March 13, 2020, and returned on August 16, 2021, after undergoing one year in distance learning.  Some students felt nervous at the announcement of testing while others were fine.  Eighth-grader Eduardo Ramirez said he was fine with the new requirements and said, “I was never nervous.”

Seventh-grader Mayah Reyes however, did not feel the same way. “I was scared there would be a positive result and I’d have to go home again,” she said.  As the results of the first tests came out, it was confirmed that out of the 34,000 tests across the SAUSD district, only 3 tested positive, and none were from MacArthur. 

When the news of testing arrived, some hoped that there would be new changes at MacArthur.  Unfortunately, Gonzales revealed that no noticeable changes would happen. “For now, you won’t see any major changes, except for less quarantining,” he said.

Quarantine was a difficult transition for many students.  Routines were changed, and many had to deal with high levels of stress.  When asked why he thought testing would be necessary, Gonzales replied, “We’re hoping that it serves as an early warning system for those that are positive, so we can remove them from campus and reduce the number of students being quarantined.”