California school district removes COVID-19 test blood drawn language after parents pressure


A California school district removed blood drawn language from its COVID testing consent form for students after an outcry from parents.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) sent out an email to parents Sunday night asking them to sign a consent form regarding COVID tests for their children – regardless of vaccination status. 

The original form read: "I authorize this COVID-19 testing unit to conduct collection and testing for COVID-19 through a saliva collection, nasopharyngeal swab, anterior nares swab or blood draw, as ordered by an authorized medical provider or public health official." 

California school district removes COVID-19 test blood drawn language after parents pressure

Santa Monica-Malibu School District (SMMUSD)

An additional message to parents from Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati said that "if a student refuses testing, the student will be sent home and will not be permitted until school authorities are satisfied that any contagious or infectious disease does not exist."  

Parents immediately homed in on the "blood draw" language of the consent form and posted screenshots on various Facebook groups. One of those parents was Dr. Houman David Hemmati. He told Fox News that by Monday morning, the "blood draw" option had been removed by the district without any comment.

"Local school boards are trying to act like mini public health departments, going far beyond federal, state, and even county health mandates to conduct mandatory asymptomatic testing and other requirements that are not supported by the clinical evidence or any governmental mandates," Hemmati told Fox News. "There is a real concern that going on a massive fishing expedition searching for positive cases among a sea of asymptomatic school kids and faculty will lead to unnecessary panic and academic disruptions"

Reopen California Schools, an online group that advocates for the return to full in-person learning, first tipped off Fox News to the blood tests. 

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SMMUSD told Fox News that the consent form did not apply to the district and that it never intended to conduct blood draws as part of its testing. 

"The language was removed as soon as we became aware of concerns over the language included, provided by our testing partners," SMMUSD Communications and Public Relations Officer Gail Pinsker told Fold News. "Everything we communicated to parents about our testing is accurate – utilizing a shallow nasal swab, that parents support using. Unfortunately, blood draw was in the consent form. This was an oversight and now fixed." 

Pinsker said that having a child's blood drawn not in the presence of a parent – as was many parents' concern – was never intended, discussed or planned on by the district. She said the district is using two medical providers, one of which included the "blood draw" language, while the other did not. 

"We are working extremely hard during a challenging time to best protect our students and staff so school can remain open to in-person learning," Pinsker said. "Direction from our guiding agencies is coming quickly and changes regularly." 

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SMUUSD began the new school year on Aug. 19 and plans to implement COVID testing on Aug. 25. A school board meeting is planned for Monday evening.