Grover Heights Elementary School, in the Lucia Mar Unified School District, received a parent complaint regarding the way COVID-19 testing procedures are taking place at the school.
“On Tuesday, we got a notification from the school nurse that we got a positive COVID-19 case at the school that was a student. The notification had indicated that we needed to get our children tested,” said Grover Heights parent Tamara Starry.
“We follow the guidance of our local health department and we were initiating the modified quarantine procedure. When there are unvaccinated students in the classroom wearing masks, they’re in a controlled setting and so we are able to initiate a modified quarantine,” said District Lead Nurse Anna-Liza Pacaoan.
Students were tested for COVID-19 at the school by self-swabbing.
“At Grover Heights, we were going through that procedure. I was there in the classroom testing the first graders,” Pacaoan said.
Starry’s complaint stated that the swabbing caused her child to tear up after swabbing too aggressively.
“There was some language that some students were self-swabbing, but it also said most students will be doing that. I took 'most students' to mean students were of a developmental and appropriate age to do that, not first graders,” Starry said.
“They’re just inserting it into the anterior nares and so if there is difficulty, we definitely assist the students," Pacaoan said.
The school district's website explains its COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols.
It says students are placed on a modified quarantine when they've been exposed to a positive case and are unvaccinated but were wearing masks. Under a 10-day modified quarantine, students can still attend class but must not participate in extracurricular activities. They're also required to complete two COVID-19 tests. Those tests can be done at school if the parent consents.
The district website says, "In accordance with CDPH guidance, able students are permitted to self-swab under the supervision of trained staff. School nurses can also perform the test."
“If there was a little difficulty, we have nurses on site who are there with the kids and will assist them with their swabbing,” Pacaoan said.
Lucia Mar Unified School District says the goal of modified quarantine is to keep the students and staff safe. They additionally sent out instructional videos on swabbing.