COVID-19 Testing Co-Op Supports Students, Staff Navigating New Wave of Variants

Woman driving car with medical mask on.

As students and educators returned from winter break, Capital Region ESD 113 prepared for another year of offering COVID testing through our drive-thru co-op.

Testing operations were set to resume on January 4, the first day of school for most districts. But with the Omicron variant looming large, the team decided to reopen a day early.

“January 3 changed the world,” Deputy Superintendent Cal Brodie said. “It defined the new year in COVID for us.”

That day, more than 200 people tested at the center, an all-time high. The record wouldn’t last long — on January 10, 241 tests were completed in just a four-hour span.

In total, the team administered almost 3,000 tests in January as Omicron continued to spread throughout the region.

In response to the surge in need for accessible testing, we expanded our hours and staffing to offer full-day testing to co-op members.

Our region also saw a significant increase in positive COVID tests throughout January and February, with positivity rates hovering around 40 percent.

As schools navigated the reality of positivity rates between 30 and 50 percent, the testing co-op has been a key tool in keeping districts open.

The expanded hours and a significant drop in new cases in Thurston County throughout February has made getting tested at ESD 113 even easier than ever before. Headed our way? Don’t forget to pre-register yourself or your student.

“Pre-registration makes testing here take less than a handful of minutes,” shared McKenna Canty, COVID testing technician.

 Staff and students at ESD 113 and North Thurston, Olympia, Tenino, and Tumwater school districts are eligible to receive COVID testing at ESD 113. Learn more about our testing co-op and pre-register for a test at