County of Marin - News Releases - School Return Testing

For Immediate Release
December 17, 2021

Families Receive Take-Home COVID-19 Tests for Holiday Break

Students and school staff provided with tests for post-holiday return

The following is a joint statement on behalf of Marin County Public Health and Marin County Office of Education.


San Rafael, CA – COVID-19 self-test kits have been distributed to all Marin County school children and school employees in preparation for the year-end holiday break. In a joint operation between Marin County Public Health and Marin County Office of Education, 96,000 tests provided by the state of California were distributed this week through Marin County schools, to ensure a safer return to schools in January.

Each student and staff member will be provided with a box containing two rapid antigen home tests – one is to be used the day before returning to school in January.

The other test is to be used at the discretion of the family anytime COVID-19 symptoms appear.

For many, that first test will occur on January 2 prior to schools resuming Monday, January 3. Instructions were distributed with the kits, and parents can find additional materials on Marin Public Health’s schools webpage. Families are to report the test results through an online reporting system.

“It’s a simple strategy—test everyone before they come back to school, to help ensure no one who’s infected comes onto campus on Day one,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s Public Health Officer. “We’ve been working with schools to promote home testing for months, so this should be familiar to most families.”

This initiative builds on a Marin County Public Health and Office of Education pilot program to use home testing kits for school children when they develop symptoms. Public health and school staff are preparing to offer the necessary supports to families who may get a positive result.

“Home testing is going to become an increasingly important tool as the pandemic progresses, especially as we expect more infections with the Omicron variant,” Dr Willis said.

Marin County recently detected its first case of the Omicron variant, underscoring the importance of frequent testing in combination with face coverings, ventilation, and ensuring all who are eligible are fully vaccinated plus boosted against COVID-19.

Marin County has seen tremendous success with pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations since they became available about six weeks ago. Nearly two out of three Marin children aged 5-11 have received at least one vaccine dose, and 44% have completed a vaccine series. That is the highest childhood vaccination rate of all counties in California.

“This is an excellent example of the cooperation between Public Health and schools since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Mary Jane Burke, Superintendent of Schools. “We are testing more people on a single day than we have at any other time since COVID-19 tests became available, which is a testament to that team approach.”

Since COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, the best protection for individuals and their families from the coronavirus is to get vaccinated. People who are unvaccinated are 43 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 and 20 times more likely not to survive if infected. Visit for information about COVID-19 vaccines and to find an available vaccination appointment.


Laine Hendricks
Public Information Officer
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7496
Email: Laine Hendricks
County Administrator website