An ambitious COVID-19 saliva-based voluntary testing program is underway in Twin Rivers Unified. Testing began this week with essential employees who are not displaying symptoms of the coronavirus. With approximately 27,000 Twin Rivers Unified students and staff expected to resume in-person instruction at some point during the 2020-2021 academic year, our top priority is the health and safety of our school community.  

Dr. Steve Martinez

“We feel the saliva-based COVID-19 testing kits—approved by the FDA—will play a critical role in helping us expand our safety efforts during the pandemic. It’s a noninvasive test and provides a quick turnaround. The purchase of the kits is to ensure they are available as the District continues developing its comprehensive safety plan specifically in response to the pandemic. The plan encompasses many areas, including contact tracing, PPE, signage and physical distancing. The goal is to have a plan in place that supports continuity of instruction for students and employees when we are able to return to a traditional in-class model of instruction.”

Dr. Steve Martinez, Superintendent

The District has ordered 10,000 saliva test kits, developed by Rutgers University’s RUCDR Infinite Biologics and its partners. We will provide the tests at no cost to our students and staff. Voluntary sample collection only takes 3-5 minutes and is painless. In addition to rolling out the program to essential workers, Twin Rivers Unified is in the process of identifying high risk student and employee groups, which is especially important in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. We continue to work closely with and follow all Sacramento County Public Health and the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) protocols.

“Sacramento County Public Health has reached out to schools to recommend that each has a COVID-19 plan in place prior to bringing teachers and students on campus once in-person learning is approved – and to have a designated contact for COVID-19 testing. Currently, the County is also finalizing a program for all teachers and other school site staff to access dedicated, no-cost COVID-19 that will start September 14. The Twin Rivers Unified use of the saliva test kits will help to augment our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye

“Twin Rivers continues to be a leader in providing healthcare services to our students. We were the first district in the state to have a Virtual Dental Home, providing our students with much needed care they would otherwise have gone without. We know that vulnerable communities have been hit hardest by the pandemic and that COVID-19 tests are out of reach for many of the families we serve. We also know that in order to reunite our students with their teachers and other school staff, we need to do so safely. By providing free COVID-19 testing to students and staff, we are fulfilling our responsibility to our school community by continuing to do whatever we can to close the gap for access to healthcare services for our kids.”

Michelle Rivas, President of the Twin Rivers Unified Board of Trustees