Sequoia Union High School District Case Study

The Situation

After schools nationwide abruptly shut their doors and launched virtual learning when the pandemic arrived in spring 2020, educational and medical experts largely concurred that in-person learning was essential for children’s academic and emotional well-being. To return to and maintain classroom instruction throughout the 2021-22 academic year, Sequoia Union High School District wanted a safe environment for all students and employees. This started with trusted COVID-19 testing and resources on how community members could protect themselves. With seven high schools, the district knew bringing students back after the prior year’s isolation would generate vital peer-to-peer opportunities beyond the classroom — including proms, performing arts and team sports — and prepare them for college or other postgraduate plans.

The Challenge

Design and deploy a robust COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program within the Sequoia Union High School District, allowing the system to quickly identify and isolate positive cases and maintain in-person instruction in addition to giving community members access to the latest public health guidance.

Meaningful Results

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Delivered a testing program in weeks to allow Sequoia Union High School District to keep schools open safely during the pandemic for in-person learning and extracurricular activities that aided student well-being.

Students & Faculty Icon

Tested students, faculty and staff members weekly, with a peak of 2,174 in mid-January 2022.

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Delivered accurate, reliable results in less than 24 hours.
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Handled 1,697 cases requiring point-to-point contact tracing in the first seven months; informed families of potential exposures; and kept school staff and administrators focused on their primary academic responsibilities.

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Educated community members on proven public health protocols after a positive diagnosis or exposure.

Our Approach

To build an effective, tailored program for the 9,000-student district, Worksite Labs listened to school administrators and reviewed public health guidelines to understand the specific need. By collaborating with educators, we moved the conversation beyond COVID-19 mitigation strategies and explored ways to create the safest educational environment, starting with accessible and reliable testing for a massive population. Worksite Labs brought our decentralized testing model and gold-standard PCR testing experience directly to the schools to identify positive cases within hours and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. In a week, Worksite Labs developed a comprehensive testing and contact tracing plan for school board approval and rollout, including a dedicated platform for parents to schedule test appointments.

Worksite Labs assigned lab technicians to the schools to collect samples, which underwent same-day local processing for timely results. Our flexible approach allowed each school to adapt testing to its needs, with three smaller schools sending students to larger schools with our on-site testing teams. Contact tracing was launched once a positive case was reported. Dedicated team members reached out to families of exposed students to provide comfort in sharing the news, offer resources on COVID-19 based on vaccination status and explain how to book testing. In the first weeks, daily check-ins with system administrators assessed operations and ever-changing pandemic requirements; those open communications contributed to school leaders’ increased confidence and comfort in our “test to stay” protocols for keeping schools safe.

Quotation MarkThe support Sequoia Union High School District received from Worksite Labs (WSL) was critical in our efforts to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. Through WSL, we built community trust in necessary COVID-19 resources through outreach and availability of online contact tracing, appointment services and same-day test results. The services were flexible, collaborative and allowed our staff and students to focus on academics and social-emotional wellness as we transitioned to in-person learning.Quotation Mark

Dr. Darnise R. Williams, Superintendent