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Families vs. COVID-19

We're all in this together

Sign up your Berkeley Unified School District student for weekly surveillance testing


It’s a quick and easy way to to keep our schools open safely.

Image by wxshutterbug

If you do not sign up for testing at school, your student must stay home
for 10 days after a close contact.

Image by CDC

More tests means that COVID cases are identified more quickly

Read our fact sheet in English and Spanish

Q: Is this the same testing process as last year?
A: No! You only have to sign up once, and it only takes 2 minutes (no insurance info!). The agreement covers both types of testing (rapid antigen testing and PCR testing).
Q: Why is it important to test all kids?
A: Testing means your child is less likely to miss school! If you do not sign up for testing and your student has been in contact with someone with COVID-19, your student will be forced to stay home for 10 days. If you are signed up to test, your student can continue to come to school if they have no symptoms and test twice a week. More tests means that COVID cases are identified more quickly, resulting in fewer cases and a lower likelihood that your student will be infected. 
Q: What specific test is BUSD using?
A: Most students and staff are being tested with BinaxNOW rapid antigen test by Abbot. Antigen tests detect ACTIVE infection with COVID-19, not past exposure. This test is very accurate! The test correctly gives a positive result 84.6% of the time. The test correctly gives a negative result 98.5% of the time. If your child tests positive, additional testing will be used to make sure they are actually positive. 
Q: How does the testing process work?
A: Testing is quick and easy. Outside of the classroom, each student swipes the inside of their nose for 15 seconds. Parents/ guardians should receive results in 15 to 20 minutes. BUSD has a published testing schedule here
Q: What happens if my student tests positive for COVID?
A: If your child’s test comes back positive, they will complete a second test. If that test is also positive, they will do another type of test that detects active COVID-19 exposure (PCR test). If the two rapid tests come back positive, BUSD assumes the student is positive. If the PCR test, which produces results in 48 to 72 hours, comes back negative, the student will no longer be considered positive. To prevent further spread of COVID, which can lead to children missing more days of school, a guardian will be contacted to pick up their student immediately. The BUSD nurse will provide instructions.
Q: What if I choose not to sign up and there is a COVID case in a classroom or bus?
A: If you DO NOT sign up for testing at school, and your child is exposed to someone who tests positive, your student will be forced to stay home for 10 days. If you are signed up to test at school, your student can continue to come to school as long as the student has no symptoms and agrees to test twice a week. These tests will be provided by BUSD.
Why test
stay home
identify cases

Q: What are the quarantine protocols?

A: Quarantine protocols come directly from state, county, and city guidance. 


BUSD is considering an entire class or student group (which could include students on a bus or in a before or after school program and athletics) as a “close contact” for quarantine decisions. If you have signed up for school-based testing your student can still come to school after being a close contact of someone who tests positive. Send your student to school:

  • If both parties were wearing a mask, there are no COVID symptoms, there are no outside school in-person activities. Close contacts will be tested twice the week of “modified quarantine”.

  • If either party was unmasked, close contacts can return to school on day 8 if tested on day 5 with a negative test result.


Q: My student has a negative COVID test result from another source. Can I use that?

A: No, only school-based tests will be accepted.


Q: How can I get help signing up?

A: Please call Vestra Monday – Friday, 8am-5pm PST at 650-275-5419.

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