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California Schools COVID-19 Resource Guide for Parents and Guardians
What types of tests are being offered at school?
BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag CARD
- A rapid test that detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus
- Uses a simple, less invasive nasal swab
- Results in less than 30 minutes – One line: Negative. Two lines: Positive
- HOW TO: A Guide for the BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Self Test
Color COVID-19 PCR Testing
- For use when a student has symptoms or tests positive using the BinaxNOW™ Ag test
- Detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus
- Uses a nasal swab
- PCR tests are sent to a lab and it can take 1-2 days to receive results
- Binax over the counter (OTC) Tests – at designated schools
- CUE Tests – at designated schools
Do we have to pay for this testing?
No, parents do not have to pay for the tests. This program is offered by your school and no payment insurance information is required. It’s completely free of charge and will help students and staff return to school in a safe way.
How often will my child be tested?
The testing frequency will be determined by each school. Please contact your school for more information. In most cases testing will occur once a week, but if your child wants to test more frequently or you have a need for an additional test, many schools can accommodate.
When will the school be testing? I do not see the information in my registration.
Many schools are using an open registration method which means there are no appointments. To see when testing will be at your school, please contact the school directly to see what days and times they are planning on offering these tests.
How will I receive the results from my child’s test?
The result will be sent in an email or a text message to the contact information you have provided in your Primary.Health registration. Most of the time, this information will be sent to the parent or guardian assuming the parent or guardian’s contact information was used to complete registration.
What happens if my child tests positive?
Most of the time when a student tests positive, the school will contact you directly to make arrangements for you to pick up your child. Usually, a second test will be conducted to confirm the test results.
Is my data shared if I register electronically?
Your data will be shared with the school and with local and state health agencies only as required for the purposes of testing and vaccines. None of your information will be disclosed or used for marketing purposes.
Do I have to register and provide consent for every test? Can my child consent on their own behalf?
No. You only need to register and consent once. Your consent will remain valid and on file for 12-months. Students over the age of 13 will be able to consent on their behalf, but if the parent’s contact information is provided, the result will still be shared with the parent or guardian.
Why are some of the registration questions being asked?
The questions are asked to meet the reporting requirements for local and State Health Departments. Since these tests are operating under a laboratory waiver, we are required to ask the same questions for lab based tests.
Can my entire family get tested at the school even if some family members aren’t students?
Many schools are offering to test the families of students. Please contact your school to see if they are offering community testing.
Are the teachers and staff also being tested?
Yes, California now requires weekly testing for all unvaccinated staff. Many schools will offer testing for their vaccinated staff as well.
I was notified that test results were available but I can’t log in to view them.
Please confirm that the birthdate you submitted is correct. If you are still having trouble logging in, please contact your school or Primary.Health’s call center at 650-275-5419.
Tips on helping your child with their COVID-19 test.
You can help your child be less anxious about the testing process if you remain calm and at ease when talking about the test and how it is administered.
- Talk about the virus in kid-friendly terms. It’s very tiny and sometimes people feel sick with a temperature, or tired and achy, and sometimes they don’t feel sick at all. The virus is so tiny that the only way to tell if the virus is present is by taking the test. The test might feel a little bit “weird” but it won’t hurt and taking the test is the best way to take care of all the students, teachers and their families.
- Have your child practice looking into your eyes while you mimic the test process with a Q-tip. Wear a mask while you do this and ask them to see if they can tell when you are smiling by watching your eyes. Tell them to do the same with the person who gives them the test at school.
- Let your child know that they have an important job to do which is to hold very still for the few seconds it takes to swab inside their nose.
- Prepare your child verbally on testing days and praise and thank them for doing a great job!