Testing FAQs
Reopening Dashboard


What is the process for reporting a positive test? 

All positive cases of COVID must be immediately reported to SCUSD Health Services – please follow the protocol outlined in our Return to Health plan here.

How will the tests be given?

Individuals will be able to swab their own nose with the guidance of trained staff.  Assistance may be provided if needed.

Children as young as kindergarten have been able to follow these instructions and swab themselves.  See CDPH video of children self-swabbing.

What if a student has been attending class all week and discovers they are positive?

If any individual that participates in a cohort tests positive for COVID, the entire cohort will likely be considered to be close contacts who were exposed to COVID.  Determining close contact within a cohort may be difficult, therefore following public health guidance the entire cohort will be considered exposed.  All individuals participating in the cohort that were physically present during the days of potential exposure will quarantine for two weeks from the date of exposure.  All individuals will be advised to monitor for symptoms and to be tested for COVID.

Will my test information be public information?

Results for COVID tests are confidentially reported to the individual, state and local public health agencies and SCUSD. Health Services will follow-up on all positive test results and determine if any other individuals had close contact and were exposed to COVID. This process is called contact tracing. SCUSD is required to respond to cases of COVID-19 in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at school/work sites. The sooner health officials are able to alert close contacts, the lower the risk of COVID-19 spreading further. The contact tracing process should remain anonymous and confidential.

I heard testing is painful – is that true?

COVID testing is given with self-administered nasal swabs, which means individuals use a long soft cotton swab to gently circulate in each nostril.  Mirrors, visual aids, and staff will support and guide each individual while they swab each nostril.  Check out the CDPH video on the self-swabbing process with young children.

Will COVID testing be provided to employees and students?

Yes – all staff, students, and community partners working at SCUSD sites will be offered free voluntary COVID testing.  Testing will be offered based on the level of community spread in Sacramento County.

Is the testing mandatory?

Testing voluntary for all staff and students. They are also completely free. 

What is the difference between the tests offered? How long does it take to get results?

SCUSD is utilizing two types of COVID tests.  Both tests are self-administered nasal swabs, which means individuals use a long soft cotton swab to gently circulate in each nostril.

  • PCR Testing is widely used and known as the most reliable test.  Results are provided within 24-48 hours.
  • Rapid antigen tests/BinaxNOW provides results within 15 minutes, however any positive test results must be confirmed with a PCR test.  If used for surveillance screening, the rapid antigen test must be administered twice weekly while daily case rates are greater than 14 per 100 thousand individuals.

When should I get tested?  Only when I have symptoms?

SCUSD highly recommends all staff and students test regularly based on the level of community spread in Sacramento County.  

Testing can be used many ways including regular screening, when someone is experiencing symptoms and when someone is exposed to COVID.  

  • Asymptomatic/Surveillance testing: Asymptomatic or surveillance testing may be used for screening to identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases, in order to exclude cases that might otherwise contribute to in-school transmission. 
  • Symptomatic testing: Testing used for individuals with symptoms of COVID- 19, either at home or at school. Individuals are required to stay home and isolate.
  • Response testing: Testing used to identify positive individuals once a case has been identified in a given stable group. Response-based testing can be provided for symptomatic or asymptomatic individuals with known or suspected exposure to an individual infected with COVID.

Do we have to continue wearing face masks and keeping our physical distance if we are regularly tested for COVID?

Used in combination with other mitigation strategies, COVID testing is an additional strategy to support safer in-person instruction. Testing may allow for early identification of cases and exclusion from school to prevent transmission. A negative test provides information only for the moment in time when the sample is collected. Individuals may become infectious shortly after having a negative test, therefore we must maintain all other public health mitigation strategies already in practice.