UC San Diego Health honored for partnerships with local school districts

UC San Diego Health
UC San Diego Health’s newest clinic in Pacific Highlands Ranch.

UC San Diego Health was named the 2021 “Partner in Educational Excellence” by the Association of California School Administrators Region 18 for its COVID-19 testing programs.

Superintendents from the Solana Beach, Del Mar Union, Rancho Santa Fe and San Dieguito Union school districts joined together to nominate the academic medical center for the award in honor of the groundbreaking partnerships it helped create in San Diego County during the pandemic. These collaborations have resulted in symptomatic and surveillance COVID-19 testing for students and school employees, helping keep students on their campuses and in classrooms during the 2020-21 school year.

“We are beyond grateful for our partnership with UC San Diego Health and its guidance and support,” said Jodee Brentlinger, superintendent of the Solana Beach School District in a news release. “Regular testing has been a key health and safety mitigation measure and contributor to keeping our schools open since September.”

UC San Diego Health and other award recipients will be recognized at the 19th Annual “Honoring Our Own” awards virtual event May 1 at 6 p.m on YouTube. UC San Diego Health will now be considered for recognition by ACSA’s State Awards Committee.

“UC San Diego Health has been proud to work with our school districts and county partners to support COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. “As a health system, we are deeply committed to keeping our communities healthy, and we welcomed the opportunity to help our schools safely reopen and resume in-person education.”

The nominating team of school districts is partnering with UC San Diego Health in a variety of ways, allowing for flexibility in testing services and guidance. In the Solana Beach district, UC San Diego Health developed a surveillance testing program offering asymptomatic testing of staff and students. In Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe, the partnership with UC San Diego is an additional strategy to ensure that symptomatic people are getting tested to help prevent an outbreak. With timely results, staff and students are able to return to school more quickly with evidence of a negative test. If they test positive, schools can quarantine them more quickly to limit the spread of the virus.

“Our partnership with UC San Diego Health from the summer of 2020 allowed us to open our schools in-person from the start of the school year,” RSF School District Superintendent Donna Tripi said. “They provided highly reliable PCR COVID testing for staff and students at a reduced cost to the district, allowing us to put in place an important mitigation strategy for opening and safely remaining open. Our students, families, and staff are grateful to them for their work.”

—-Karen Billing