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Supes Vote to Continue Testing Wastewater for Covid-19 at Schools & Childcare Centers



The Board of Supervisors today, as part of the COVID-19 update, approved extending a contract for the Safer at School Early Alert System, a partnership the County of San Diego has with UC San Diego to test wastewater near schools and childcare centers. Chair Nathan Fletcher during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic secured Board support for $5 million for the initial pilot program, which he envisioned if successful, would be continued and expanded. Today’s vote allocates an additional $2.7 million for the program and expands it to nearly 50 locations.  

“Continuing our investment in this early detection testing at schools and childcare facilities is the right thing to do as kids get back to school,” said Chair Fletcher. “Keeping our kids in the classroom is key to their development and growth. After the year they have experienced, anything we can do to keep them in a stable learning environment, with the social benefits of being around their classmates, is a worthy investment.”

Earlier this year, the County reported Safer at School Early Alert System was being piloted at 10 schools and two child care centers within communities at highest risk for COVID-19 including San Ysidro, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Southeastern San Diego, and Vista. This program tests for the presence of particles of the coronavirus and is combined with a responsive testing strategy. The purpose is to identify children or staff members who are infected with COVID-19 before an outbreak occurs. This novel approach to testing and investment in early alert systems is a science-based and proactive approach toward fighting the pandemic

Safer at School Early Alert System aligns with Chair Nathan Fletcher’s Framework for the Future of San Diego County . The Framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is fighting for racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, government transparency, and fundamental changes to county operations.