A safer system for schools

As children, teachers, and staff members return to school and child care, we want to make sure that COVID-19 does not spread. While school and childcare facilities remain proactive in efforts to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 with the use of masks, sanitization, and hand washing, the UC San Diego Wertheim School of Public Health is working on additional safety strategies: testing wastewater and surfaces for the presence of particles from the COVID-19 virus.

What is SASEA?

SASEA stands for Safer at School Early Alert Response Testing for Students. It is a research initiative at UC San Diego Wertheim School of Public Health, working on a system that schools can use to test wastewater and surfaces for the presence of particles from the COVID-19 virus, as strategies to help make sure that COVID-19 does not spread and allow the safest return to school.

Read more frequently asked questions

SASEA Safety Strategies

Wastewater monitoring

A robot takes hourly samples from the wastewater at your facility, and participating research personnel collect and test the samples daily for the presence of the COVID-19 virus.

Surface monitoring

Each day, before rooms are sanitized, school personnel swipe commonly touched surfaces (such as doorknobs and countertops), and participating research personnel collect and test the samples daily for the presence of the COVID-19 virus.

Diaper monitoring

At child care facilities, diapers with feces may be collected once per week and tested for the presence of the COVID-19 virus.

COVID-19 testing

Consenting children and staff are tested at your school/child care by the participating research partner for the COVID-19 virus through a gentle swab of the lower part of the nostril or a saliva sample. This testing will occur weekly or as needed.

What makes SASEA work?

Surveys and focus groups

Community members and stakeholders are invited to participate in surveys and discussion groups to provide additional information and perspectives on COVID safety.

Community leadership

Study is guided by community advisory boards with parent and staff representatives from participating sites.

Privacy protection

All information collected is rigorously protected following all research, health, and school information privacy standards. No DNA analysis is conducted. Samples are only tested for the presence of COVID RNA/particles.