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SAISD implements wide-spread testing for COVID-19; One initiative with Community Labs onboarding 40 additional campuses this week
12/03/2020
Dec. 3, 2020 – San Antonio ISD is implementing three COVID-19 testing programs for its school community, locally making it among the districts with the greatest amount of free, available testing for its constituents. This week, one of those initiatives – a collaboration with Community Labs – has expanded its reach from 17 campuses to 57 campuses.

“We are excited to participate in a testing strategy with local and state partners,” said SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez. “The safety of our staff and students is of great importance to us, and these tests provide an additional layer of assurance beyond masking and social distancing.”

“And, this week, we are especially grateful to our Community Labs partner for expanding its assurance testing to 40 additional campuses,” Martinez said. “These types of partnerships are allowing us to maintain as safe an environment as possible.”

The collaboration with Community Labs launched in November at 17 schools located in the San Antonio ZIP codes with the highest positivity rates. This week, the testing has expanded to include a total of 57 campuses, including high schools, middle schools, academies, elementaries, and early education centers.  

The Community Labs screening process uses a PCR test – the FDA gold standard in COVID-19 testing – and is 95% effective in detecting asymptomatic, silent spreaders of the virus. Frequency of testing for participating schools is currently once a week.

“There’s no question that students learn better when they are in the classroom with their teachers and schoolmates. So, it’s vital for those students who are now at home and attending school remotely to get back into the classroom as soon as possible,” said J. Bruce Bugg Jr., co-founder of Community Labs and chairman and trustee of The Tobin Endowment. “By testing frequently and getting the results back in 24 hours or less, those students who test positive for the virus can quarantine and everyone else can feel safe about returning to in-person classes, and that also frees up parents to return to their normal work schedules.”

Bugg co-founded Community Labs with two other individuals. The other co-founders are Graham Weston of the 80/20 Foundation and J. Tullos Wells, managing director of the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. The funding is provided by grants from local government entities through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and by private donors.

“This program can really make a difference in fighting the pandemic,” Bugg said.

In addition to the testing program with Community Labs, SAISD is employing two other testing initiatives. The District also received rapid-tests from the Texas Education Agency. These rapid-tests are being administered to students and staff who participate in or support varsity athletics, including football, volleyball, and basketball; fine arts students who participate in game-related activities such as band, dance, cheer and pep squad; and JROTC students prior to their competitions. 

“We started with these targeted high school groups because it is less straightforward to maintain social distancing and masking protocols during some types of events,” said Martinez. “We want to limit the risk of exposure during extracurricular activities as much as we possibly can without holding students back from participation.” 

SAISD’s third testing program is about to roll out before winter break. It will be a mobile testing initiative located at Alamo Stadium for staff, students and their family members, and community members. Once launched, it will be available on Wednesdays. 

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List of SAISD schools participating with Community Labs
• Lanier High School
• Rhodes Middle School
• Tafolla Middle School
• J.T. Brackenridge Elementary School
• Rodriguez Montessori Elementary School
• Margil Academy
• Brackenridge High School
• Burbank High School
• Edison High School
• Highlands High School
• Sam Houston High School
• Jefferson High School
• Travis Early College High School
• Young Women’s Leadership Academy
• Cooper Academy
• St. Philip’s Early College High School
• Texans Can Academy at Highlands High School
• Davis Middle School
• Harris Middle School
• Longfellow Middle School
• Lowell Middle School
• Poe Middle School
• Rogers Middle School
• Whittier Middle School
• Ball Academy
• Beacon Hill Academy
• Bonham Academy
• Cotton Academy
• Douglass Academy
• Fenwick Academy
• Forbes Academy
• Foster Academy
• Green Academy 
• Herff Academy
• Japhet Academy
• M.L. King Academy
• Bowden Academy
• Riverside Park Academy
• Rogers Academy
• Twain Dual Language Academy
• Steele Montessori Academy
• Democracy Prep at Stewart
• Woodlawn Academy
• Young Men’s Leadership Academy
• Hawthorne Academy
• Mission Academy
• Gates Elementary School
• Hirsch Elementary School
• Miller Elementary School
• Carroll Early Childhood Education Center
• Crockett Academy
• DeZavala Elementary School
• Irving Dual Language Academy
• Sarah King Elementary School
• Ogden Academy
• Barkley-Ruiz Elementary School
• Storm Elementary School

About Community Labs, LLC
Community Labs, LLC, identifies asymptomatic silent spreaders of COVID-19 by providing 24-hour test results, scale, accuracy, and a less invasive, self-administered test that swabs the front of the nostril. With this assurance testing strategy, schools and businesses can create COVID-19 Safety Zones and a pathway for schools to reopen, people to return to work and communities to recover. Community Labs is a nonprofit organization based in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, visit CommunityLabs.org.           

About San Antonio ISD
As San Antonio’s founding school district, SAISD schools have served the heart of the Alamo City for more than 100 years. Today, SAISD serves about 46,000 students in our culturally proud, urban community and is rated a B district by the state. With forward-thinking academic programs at neighborhood schools and a growing list of specialized schools, SAISD students can customize their own educational experience and find what truly drives them. The spirit of SAISD also can be found in its extracurricular programs and activities from extensive athletics to fine arts – including a mariachi curriculum that was pioneered in SAISD before being modeled across the nation. For more information, visit www.saisd.net.
 

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