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San Marcos Unified School District office. Photo via Facebook
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San Marcos Unified opens COVID testing sites at four locations

SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos Unified School District launched four on-campus COVID-19 testing sites this week in an effort to minimize the spread of contagious disease among students.

The test sites opened on Sept. 15 at Mission Hills High School, San Marcos High School, La Mirada Academy and the San Marcos school district office.

“Our team has been working extremely hard to get these testing locations operational beginning next week,” said SMUSD Superintendent Andy Johnsen. “We realize testing is a key piece in the fight against COVID and the right thing to do for our staff, students and families.”

Families were notified about the new testing sites in a district email along with a reminder about updated quarantine protocols from the California Department of Public Health.

The updated guidelines emphasize “vaccination for all eligible individuals to get COVID-19 rates down throughout the community; universal masking in schools, which enables no minimum physical distancing, allowing all students access to full in-person learning, and more targeted quarantine practices, keeping students in school; and access to a robust COVID-19 testing program as an available additional safety layer,” the website says.

The new guidelines eliminate physical distancing, encourage vaccinations and frequent testing, as well as reduce, and in some cases eliminate, days away from in-person instruction due to quarantine.

“I realize the extraordinary burden COVID-19 has placed on the shoulders of our families and staff members. We are working closely with the San Diego County Office of Education and HHSA to ensure we are following the most up-to-date guidance, and our top priority will always be the health, safety, and well-being of all members of the SMUSD community,” Johnsen said in the district email.

According to the SMUSD COVID-19 dashboard, there are 28 active COVID-19 cases among students and staff districtwide. The dashboard does not reflect how many total cases have been reported in the district since the return to in-person instruction on Aug. 17.

The district is also hosting a free vaccination clinic at San Marcos Elementary School on Oct. 2.

The vaccination clinic is in partnership with CAL FIRE and Universidad Popular and is open to individuals 12 years and up.

According to the district public information officer Amy Ventetuolo, SMUSD will keep the COVID-19 testing locations up and running “as long as there is a need among students and staff.”