Sunnyside schools to offer weekly testing for students, staff

District leaders working to help students with academic, emotional needs amid pandemic
Sunnyside Unified School District superintendent Steve Holmes
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 10:00 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Sunnyside Unified School District is kicking off a new school year Wednesday, Aug. 4.

More than 15,000 students are returning to the classroom for all in-person instruction for the first time in several months.

District Superintendent Steve Holmes says health and safety surrounding COVID-19 has been a big priority.

ZIP codes in the community Sunnyside serves were among the hardest hit areas by COVID-19 in terms of deaths and cases.

Many of the students seeing firsthand the damage the virus can do.

Leaders say they will be stressing frequent hand washing, extra cleaning on campuses and sanitizing stations.

Students can also expect staggered lunches and social distancing in classrooms where possible.

Sunnyside is one of the districts that is partnering with a lab and Pima County to offer free weekly COVID-19 testing. This is for students and staff throughout the district.

“These are all volunteer, we’re not mandating this, so again parents that sign a consent form, we will be doing weekly testing. That’s going to be helpful in collaboration with the county so then once we know someone is positive, working directly with them on how to we track, contact trace and, equally important, how do we communicate if we do have to either have to shut down a classroom or isolate individuals in the classroom,” said Holmes.

Holmes told KOLD there is a sense of gratitude within the district for all of the work teachers and staff have put in over the past few months.

The district is working to address not only the academic needs of the students following previous interruptions, but also the emotional needs too.

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