With the recent news of random COVID testing at school from the District, there have been mixed reactions and lots of confusion across the students, staff, and parents at San Marcos. Although there seems to be a very large population of students that are vaccinated, there probably is still a decent number of students that are not. (Information about the actual amounts of students vaccinated are not open to the public) For those who are not vaccinated, the Santa Barbara School Board has decided that the students will be randomly required to have COVID tests.
In an email sent by the superintendent of the School District, Superintendent Maldonado said, “With declining COVID infection rates in our community, our plan at this time is to conduct random testing of unvaccinated students at the secondary level along with continuing to do testing of any symptomatic and close contact students.” Superintendent Maldonado continued with, ”Random testing will be conducted over a two week period at your student’s school using a supervised, self-collection, nasal swab antigen test. About ten percent of unvaccinated students will be tested per round.”
“I think that it is fair that they are testing us because we made the decision to not get the vaccination,” said an anonymous unvaccinated student.
Although these students decided to not get immunized, they mostly seem to be understanding the process of COVID testing. The same student went on to talk about how it can be frustrating going through testing, however the students feel as though it is their normal life now. Most of the unvaccinated students that were interviewed could not get a vaccination because their parents would not allow them or they had a medical exception.
“I think that it [getting tested for COVID] is a compromise for the students who have chosen to opt out of getting vaccinated,” said Gabe Casey, ASB President and school site council representative.
There are people that are willing to follow the protocols but, from the word that is going around campus, there are also people at school who are annoyed and think that the random testing is not ideal. Plenty of people share an opinion that is different from the majority of the kids at this school and those kids expect that their opinion is respected by everyone.
Overall, through all of the COVID changes it seems like the majority of the unvaccinated kids are willing to go through with this random testing and they are supportive of the kids that decided to get vaccinated. With this newly instated random COVID testing protocol, the goal of the school seems to be making a slow but sure return to our normal lives while keeping all of the students and staff safe.