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Parents, students brave bitter weather for COVID-19 tests provided by Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools canceled all classes Monday, Jan. 3 to provide 60,000 COVID-19 tests for students and staff before returning to the classroom.

SEATTLE — In an unprecedented move, Seattle Public Schools canceled all classes Monday to provide 60,000 COVID-19 testing for all students and staff before they head back to the classroom.

“I don’t want to get any of my classmates sick, so yeah,” said Sam Draves, Blaine Middle School student.

Draves stood in line with his mother Amy Draves at McClure Middle School, one of Seattle Public Schools' testing sites.

The widespread testing comes as cases increase due to the Omicron variant.

This as cases are increasing due to the contagious Omicron variant.

“We have one test at home but I feel like I have to hold onto it because we can’t necessarily get more. So, this, I think it it’s really a good plan,” said Amy Draves.

The district received the 60,000 rapid antigen tests from the Washington State Department of Health for SPS students and staff, at a time when tests are hard to come by.

“For the most part, there’s no test at home kits anywhere from Olympia all the way up to the Canadian border practically. So, we didn’t have much of a choice,” said mother, Sara Adkisson as she stood in line with her five-year-old son. 

Many parents choose to tough out the long lines for peace of mind and to keep kids in classrooms, even if it meant waiting for hours in the wind, rain, snow and hail.

“As long as we can be in person, I am willing to do virtually anything,” Draves said, “It’s totally worth it, we gotta do what we gotta do.”

But other parents weren’t so tolerant of the conditions.

“The line is at least ten blocks long, it’s in the middle of a snowstorm and it’s not worth it to subject my child to this for testing,” Shane Menchions told KING 5. “We’re going home untested because we’re not dealing with this.”

Seattle Public Schools declined an interview request from KING 5 but did confirm school is expected to be back in session Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

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