Staff shares their experiences with weekly COVID-19 test and vaccinations


During the first round of staff COVID testing on the week of Oct. 18, principal’s secretary Mrs. Tamara Fernandes hands her swab to RUSD Health Official Mrs. Lindsey Williams for her weekly surveillance test. Photo by Francheska Pontillas.

In compliance with the California Department of Public Health, starting the week of Oct. 18, school staff are required to show proof of their vaccination through vaccine cards or conduct weekly COVID-19 tests. 

Employees received an email from the district disclosing they were required to upload evidence of their vaccination card, or state that they refuse to submit their card, and/or state that they would not be vaccinated for certain reasons. 

Those who did not submit proof of vaccination and/or stated their refusal are required to complete mandatory testing. 

“If you are required to have mandatory testing you are assigned a testing schedule that shows you’re either Schedule A or Schedule B, and then you can go get tested at your own school site or any other school site in the district, or at a provider of your own choosing,” principal’s secretary Mrs. Tamara Fernandes said.  

Health teacher Mrs. Jennifer Henry recently participated in the mandatory testing. 

“It’s just a simple procedure in the nurse’s office or in the front office where you sterilize your hands, you pull your mask down, they gave you a swab, you run it in your one nostril for 15 seconds and then the other nostril for 15 seconds and you put it in the tube, seal it up and you’re done,” Henry said. “It’s very easy. We do it every Monday, and I get the results on Wednesday.”

According to Spanish teacher Mr. Tod Furtado, although he has contrasting opinions of the vaccine, he believes the testing process for unvaccinated staff members allows for a swift and trouble-free experience.

“I think that the schools try to be safe, but since children aren’t required to be vaccinated, it seems a little silly to have adults be required to be vaccinated. Until everybody’s required to be vaccinated, I don’t think anybody should be required to be vaccinated,” Furtado said. “The weekly COVID testing is being done very well. It’s organized. The school district is doing a very good job at supporting people who do not want to get a vaccine. I know when I can go, it’s available, and it’s easy.”

Although weekly testings are not required for vaccinated staff members, science teacher Mr. Erich Means chooses to record his safety through weekly surveillance testing.

“I’ve been doing [surveillance tests] for several weeks; I haven’t done the last couple for various reasons, but it’s not a big deal,” Means said. “The Q-tip that you’re swabbing around in your nose takes only 60 seconds of time.”