This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientist was preparing to test a patient’s sample for SARS-CoV-2, using the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)–PCR Diagnostic Panel. (James Gathany/CDC 2020)

At-home COVID-19 tests were sent home with all Marin County public schoolchildren and school employees this week to be completed before returning to school in January after the holiday break.

An estimated 96,000 tests provided by the state were distributed in a joint effort by Marin County Public Health and Marin County Office of Education, according to a news release from county officials.

Each student and staff member received two tests and were asked to use one of them the day before returning to school and report the results through the district’s 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.”

Health officials announced Friday that the county’s first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 was confirmed in someone who recently returned from a trip to the East Coast.

The person, who was fully vaccinated but had not yet gotten a booster shot, was in isolation with mild symptoms, according county officials Friday.