Some San Antonio-area schools offering free COVID-19 testing for teachers, students

Community Labs has partnered with more than 10 school districts to offer COVID-19 testing

SAN ANTONIO – While there’s a lot of talk about vaccines and mask mandates, some school districts are focusing on COVID-19 testing weekly to help mitigate the virus’s spread among staff and students.

Community Labs, a nonprofit that provides testing services, has already partnered with more than 10 San Antonio-area school districts this year to help ensure a safe learning environment.

“We’ve made improvements in our overall process over the summer. We’ve added capacity; we’ve made it easier for the schools to schedule testing with us,” said Sal Webber, president of Community Labs.

Webber said testing continues to be a strong tool in the fight against COVID-19.

Community Labs is conducting weekly PCR tests at local school districts and returns results within 24 hours to allow those with a positive result to quickly isolate.

Webber said they have the ability to process 24,000 samples a day.

Last year, the average positivity rate on the campuses where they tested was less than one percent. Now, they are seeing higher positivity rates.

“This year we’re at three to four percent, depending on the school,” Webber said.

Staff at Somerset ISD were tested for COVID-19 even before school started.

“It brings peace of mind, especially to teachers,” said Elizabeth Sanchez, a teacher at Somerset Elementary School.

Community Labs began conducting mass COVID-19 testing at this district last year.

Sanchez said it helped many students, including one of hers who tested positive and didn’t have any symptoms at the time.

“Because he tested positive, his mom tested, his brothers and sisters and they ended up being positive as well,” Sanchez said.

Other school districts are offering other testing options.

At North East ISD, they are offering rapid testing at all schools. A registered nurse on each campus performs the test.

More on KSAT:

Here are the COVID plans for San Antonio-area school districts

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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