The San Ramon Valley Unified School District ran out of rapid tests to distribute to students on Friday, Jan. 7, the second day of distribution, leading to the cancellation of today's distribution for parents and guardians who could not get to a distribution Thursday or Friday.
The district announced on Jan. 4 that 30,000 kits with two rapid antigen tests per kit would be distributed to SRVUSD students ahead of plans to return to in-person classes Jan. 11 in the midst of the surge of the omicron variant that took off during the holiday break.
After announcing more than 17,000 of the 30,000 tests were distributed on Thursday, the district followed up with an announcement that there were no more kits available for pickup at about 2 p.m. on Jan. 7.
The rapid tests were set to be distributed only to students in the district, with community testing available by appointment at the Education Center in Danville for staff, teachers, and family members in addition to students.
"We do not have kits available for parents/caregivers or for children who do not attend our schools," district officials said in the Jan. 4 announcement.
Prior to the start of the first day of distribution on Jan. 6, the district sent an additional announcement emphasizing and clarifying eligibility for the free rapid tests, including that tests were available only for students in the district, and only one kit with two tests was allocated per student.
The announcement added that staff and volunteers would only be able to distribute tests to one household per car, and asked community members to try to stop anyone who might not be following these requirements.
"If you hear of anyone who is considering stopping by a distribution site to pick up a kit for someone who is NOT an SRVUSD student, please ask them to not to do so, as supplies are limited to the number of students we have enrolled," the district's Jan. 6 announcement said. "We really appreciate our community’s collaboration and trust in this process."
After distributing more than half of the 30,000 test kits on the first day, the district announced on Jan. 7 that it would be cancelling the distribution planned for Jan. 10, and that no more tests were available to pick up.
"We are so appreciative to our community of families, volunteers, custodians, warehouse staff, and other district employees who participated in the mass distribution of our student test kits," district officials said in the Jan. 7 announcement. "It was an enormous undertaking that successfully saw all 30,000 test kits distributed in a two-day event. The traffic lines were long at times, but everyone who came through our four distribution sites was patient and thankful for the test kits."
Officials acknowledged that the speedy distribution process meant that not all families were able to pick up tests before supplies ran out, and announced an additional, students-only test day at Iron Horse Middle School on Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with 1,000 appointments available, asking that they be reserved for students who weren't able to pick up test kits on Jan. 6 or Jan. 7.
However, the district's problems were compounded over the weekend as the booking platform used for these appointments, Agile, was overloaded and went down at times, making it appear that no more appointments were available, according to social media posts from the district.
District superintendent Dr. John Malloy would not respond to a request for information or comment about what percentage of students were able to pick up test kits, why kits ran out before every student who wanted one had one, or what measures the district had taken to ensure that tests were only distributed to SRVUSD students.
Without official information from the district about these measures, or what led to the apparent shortfall in tests, community members were left to speculate in social media comments about what might have led to the problem. While many voiced support and appreciation for the largely volunteer-run effort that had gone smoothly, others raised concerns that tests hadn't been fairly distributed as planned.
"I am surprised they did not have some list or something to be more accountable," Jennifer Prindiville wrote in a comment on a Facebook post from the district announcing that there were no more tests available for pickup on Jan 7. "Now saying everyone that’s left can go get tested is not equitable and will only assure more people will not when they would have at least tested before returning to school with an at home test. Very poor planning."
In a response to another commenter, who asked if more tests would be available to distribute in the future, the district said on Monday that they were "continuing to proactively check into our options for this, but at this time, none are available," adding that they were looking for ways to increase the availability of rapid test appointments.