School students across California will receive one or two take-home COVID-19 testing kits from the state as part of an effort to ensure they are virus-free when they return to classes after the winter holidays, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

Newsom said the state has acquired 6 million tests that will be distributed across California to be provided to K-12 students.

“After our kids have enjoyed the holidays with family and friends — safely we hope, traveling in many cases — we want to make sure they come back in as good of shape as they left,” Newsom said. “Meaning we want to make sure we are testing our kids and preparing them to come back (for) in-person instruction.”

He said the tests will allow students to “get those results back quickly and make sure when they go back in person they’re doing so safely, knowing they haven’t contracted the disease over the holidays.”

The governor said keeping schools open is the state’s top priority. His office released a statement Wednesday morning jointly issued by various education labor groups — the California State Parent Teacher Association, California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California School Employees Association, SEIU California, Association of California School Administrators, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California School Boards Association and California Charter Schools Association — backing efforts to retain in-person instruction.

“Across California, school communities — students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators and board members together — have worked tirelessly to keep schools both safe and in-person,” according to the statement. “California schools have been open because of, not despite of, our priority on safety. As we approach the new year, we reaffirm our shared commitment to one another, to our parents and to our students: to keep each other safe and to keep our classrooms open.”

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