COVID-19 Testing FAQ

  • Why are home-based test results not accepted?

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    California Department of Public Health recommends against using home-based tests results for clearing those who have been symptomatic or to meet other health requirements. It is impossible to verify that a home-based test was administered properly and taken by the person which results are being reported for. The district will accept test results from health care or professional testing sites that administer approved COVID-19 tests. This includes your primary care provider, urgent care centers, pharmacies such as Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS, and community testing sites hosted by Sacramento County Public Health, San Juan Unified, or other licensed community groups. 

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  • Who should test?

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    Everyone is encouraged to test every other week to help detect asymptomatic infections. The following groups may need to test more frequently:

    * Students or staff who have been symptomatic but are now feeling better and wish to return to school within 10 days of when they began experiencing symptoms. (Negative test result is required unless a note from a medical professional is provided determining the cause of the symptoms is not COVID-19.) 

    * Students who are on modified quarantine due to a possible exposure at school. Students on modified quarantine are required to test twice per week. 

    * Unvaccinated volunteers must provide a negative result from a test administered within the 7 days prior to the volunteer experience. Repeat volunteers must provide new results from tests administered within the 7 days prior to each volunteer experience. 

    * Unvaccinated employees, vendors or service providers must test on a weekly basis. 

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  • How long does it take to get test results?

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    When an antigen rapid test is used, results are known in approximately 15 minutes and the results report is sent to the person being tested within 20 to 45 minutes. 

    When a PCR test is used, the sample must be sent to a lab for processing. Results are typically available in 48 to 72 hours. 

     

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  • What do different test results mean?

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    When being screened for COVID-19 your result may be reported in one of several ways. Different tests and providers will use different language but most have similar categories to those presented here. 

    Negative (Not Detected) - The test did not detect the virus in your system. 

    Positive (Detected) - The test detected the proteins (antigen test) or genetic material (PCR test) associated with the virus in your system. This result is valid whether or not you have any symptoms. 

    Presumptive Positive - The test found marginal traces of material associated with the virus in your system. This could be from an early infection or an infection that has nearly run its course.

    Inconclusive -  An inconclusive result is most often the result of not enough sample material being collected on the nasal swab. It indicates that the test was unable to be successfully run and make a determination. 

    Damaged or Error - This result indicates that there was a problem with the sample collected. This is most often the result of a test tube breaking in shipment or coming unsealed within its bag. 

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  • When do I share my test result?

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    If you receive a positive test result you must leave campus and may not return until cleared to do so. 

    If you're on campus when your receive your positive test result, immediately notify your teacher or supervisor and arrange to leave campus. If you're not on campus when you receive your positive test result, notify the school office or your supervisor via email or by phone as soon as possible.

    It is important that you share your positive test result. This allows the school to identify potential close contact exposures and take steps to limit the spread of the virus to others. 

     

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  • Do employees who need to test weekly for the state health order need to upload own their results?

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    Yes. Employees who are subject to weekly testing to meet the requirements of the state health order can be tested by any provider other than a home-based test. To protect the privacy of your results and testing history you must upload your own results via the Vaccination Verification System each week even if you test at your school site or a district testing location. 

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  • How are test samples collected?

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    District testing sites collect testing samples through self-administered nasal swabs. The person being tested is given a sterilized swab and uses it to collect the sample from their nasal passages themselves. District staff, parents or guardians or other individuals are not allowed to swab another person at a district testing site. Only an approved and licensed medical professional may swab another individual at a district testing site. 

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  • What types of tests does the district offer?

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    San Juan Unified testing locations primarily utilize Antigen rapid tests. This type of test detects protein fragments that are specific to the virus. It produces results in about 15 minutes that can be interpreted on site without the need to send the sample to a laboratory. It is useful to detect current and active infections. The test does have a high false negative rate and is more likely to miss individuals in the early stages of an infection or those who are at the end of an infection. The false positive rate with this test is very low. If the test returns a positive result it is highly likely that the COVID-19 virus is actively present in your system. 

    Sites also utilize PCR tests when appropriate. This type of test detects genetic material (RNA) specific to the virus. It can detect infections within days of exposure even among those who have no symptoms. The turnaround time is longer as the test is processed in a laboratory setting, meaning results are usually not available for 24 to 72 hours. PCR tests can be highly sensitive depending on the manufacturer and lab used with some able to detect remnants of past infections as well as current infections. Due to the sensitivity of this test, it is possible for this test to reflect a positive result, but not be actively infectious; this is sometimes referred to as a false positive.

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