by Photo courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom's office

California prepares to stockpile on COVID-19 tests to prepare for students and staff returning from spring break. 

Under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s SMARTER plan, the state deployed COVID-19 tests to prepare for returning students and staff. The state has distributed over 14.3 million at-home COVID-19 tests to schools for the roughly 7.2 million students and staff in the state over the past month. 

“California is focused on keeping schools open and students safe, and we’re not letting our guard down,” said Governor Newsom. “We know that COVID-19 is still present in our communities, but the SMARTER Plan is how we keep people safe and continue moving the state forward.”

The state has allocated tests based on the total number of students and staff in public and private schools throughout the state in partnership with local county offices of education. Under Governor Newsom’s SMARTER Plan, California maintains the operational readiness and resource stockpiles to quickly distribute tests to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The state also made personal protective equipment (PPE) available for any school and has distributed over 40.6 million KN95s, N95s, and surgical masks to schools since their return from winter break. Over 1 billion PPE units have been delivered to schools, including items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and more.

The California Department of Public Health has distributed materials to schools to further highlight this testing program. 

According to Newsom’s office, the SMARTER Plan preserves needed flexibility and ensures the state has the resources and capabilities in place to tackle the COVID-19 challenges that lie ahead. It maintains the state’s focus on targeted investments and outreach to tackle COVID-19 health disparities in disproportionately impacted communities.

 The plan features a new COVID-19 Assessment and Action Unit to monitor data and frontline conditions in real-time. It also builds upon regionally-based wastewater surveillance and genome sequencing network to have early and rapid insights into the changing nature of the virus and early identification of variants. 

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