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The first day back to school after winter break and parents are being asked to test their students amidst COVID-19

Thousands of students and staff are going back to school now that the holidays are over, but the omicron variant is fueling new concerns about COVID-19.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento City Unified School District has 81 schools, 47,000 students and 3,000 staff  — a large number of people the district is trying to protect. Mass testing has played a big part in keeping people safe during the pandemic.

John Tillman, a dad of a 2nd-grade student at Crocker/Riverside Elementary School said he got his kid ready for the first day back to school with a yummy breakfast, packed lunch and everything needed for the school district's COVID-19 protocol.

“You have to show you had two recent tests so one, one day before and one three days before and send those in through a website. My wife did and made sure they are both negative,” Tillman said.

Tillman said he beat the long lines at COVID-19 facilities by testing his child at home with a kit provided by the school district from the state. Tillman said he and his wife are vaccinated but he does have some reservations about sending his student back to school.

“We feel good that they are ready. In general though, with other kids we just take our chances I guess. So we are doing the best we can to prepare them and make sure that they're safe and that's what's important,” Tillman said. 

RELATED: Omicron variant spurs rush to get tested as kids return to school and parents return to the office

Rayna Kwong has a kid in kindergarten and said although her family is vaccinated, she is not ready to vaccinate her daughter.

“We came a little bit early because on their website it did say to have your child tested before they came back to school, so I was just verifying with the principal that she didn’t need to have a COVID test,” Kwong said.

Kwong said schools officials informed her that as of right now it’s optional but after Jan. 30 it will be mandatory.

“They are going to offer it at school but you have to give consent and I gave consent because it’s easier for my daughter to do it here at school than me having to run around and find a testing center for her each week,” Kwong said.

More information about COVID testing and guidelines can be found on the Sacramento County website.

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