COVID-19 testing behind Hart Middle School prioritizes students with symptoms


Stephanie Kamali

A student awaits a result from a COVID-19 rapid antigen test.

Kazuya Yasui and Zymon Baron

With the recent surges in COVID-19 cases in America, PUSD has created a rapid testing center behind Hart Middle School specifically for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms.

“I waited in line for about 30 minutes. There were a lot of people wanting to get it done when I went, and they only had three testing tents set up. I felt perfectly fine while waiting, as I’ve done it before and I knew what to expect,” said Mihir Joshi (‘24).

The recent surge of students needing to be tested can be attributed to the Omicron variant. Alameda County just experienced its all-time high in new COVID cases per day, when on Jan. 14, 14,000 new cases were reported and the weekly average of new COVID cases per day was 4,000. For comparison, the next all-time high was during the winter of 2020 where the weekly average was only 900. 

“I think the surge is directly related to the lack of action by the school and the board. We are lucky for the lack of severity, but if we keep going at this rate, someone’s going to end up in the hospital. I’m actually on the soccer team and many players have gotten COVID-19,” said Ibrihim Riazi (‘24).

Bright red tents can be found behind Hart Middle School for COVID-19 tests. (Stephanie Kamali)

With the testing site only being available to those only with symptoms, people wanting to get tests that have not been exposed or have not experienced symptoms have been forced to find testing sites at farther locations. This creates an extreme hassle and takes a lot of time away from peoples’ day as other rapid testing sites are not nearby.

“Testing should be available to all, but with priority to ones with symptoms or knowledge of exposure in order to minimize cases and spreading. At the moment, where testing is largely unavailable and facilities crowded, I think it’s smart to only allow symptomatic patients to test,” said Nick Michalatos (‘23).