San Antonio nonprofit Community Labs suspended weekly COVID-19 testing in 13 school districts Monday after the state of Texas failed to renew the organization’s contract.
Community Labs had provided the free weekly screenings in 11 Bexar County school districts, plus Laredo and San Marcos independent school districts, through a funding agreement with the Texas Division of Emergency Management. More than 15,000 students and educators used the testing service daily at roughly 300 campuses.
TDEM has not renewed the contract with Community Labs, which had been extended in January through the end of March amid the omicron surge, Community Labs spokeswoman Mary Ullman Japhet said.
Students and staff can still use Community Labs’ two mass testing sites, which offer free PCR tests with results in 24 hours. Those sites, open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., are at the Alamo Colleges District Support Operations Building, 2222 N. Alamo St., and Wonderland of the Americas, 4522 Fredericksburg Road.
Southwest ISD Superintendent Lloyd Verstuyft notified families and staff in a letter that Community Labs would be closing its testing sites within the district but that Curative would continue to offer testing at Southwest High School.
“Our positivity rate is lower than it has ever been since the pandemic began. In light of this, the need for testing has dropped significantly,” Verstuyft wrote. “We will continue to monitor the situation, and should the need arise, we will look for more testing opportunities.”
San Antonio ISD hopes to continue testing next week, district spokeswoman Laura Short said. As of March 27, the district had a positivity rate of 0.3%, according to SAISD’s weekly COVID-19 test report.
Bexar County’s positivity rate sank to 1.3% as of the week of March 25 and the community risk level was low, according to San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District.
The other Bexar County school districts in which Community Labs has stopped testing include Northside, Judson, East Central, Southside, Harlandale, Alamo Heights, Edgewood, South San Antonio and Somerset ISDs.