Providence schools offering more testing after long lines plague Sunday’s clinic

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Hundreds of people lined up around the Providence Career & Technical Academy on Fricker Street in Providence on Sunday hoping to get a rapid test ahead of the start of school.

The three hour walk-in testing clinic was organized by the district to make it easier for teachers and students to get a test, but the clinic was anything but easy.

Many people in line reported waiting over an hour to get their test and some families even left the event before getting a test at all.

Despite the long wait times, nearly 3,000 Providence students, teachers and parents were tested, according to Providence substitute teacher Enrique Sanchez.

Susan Rohwer was among those who waited and sent video of the line wrapping around the block to 12 News.

“Some people got here at 10:21 and it took an hour to get tested,” Rohwer said.

Providence Schools says it will continue to test students each day of its staggered return to school this week, but only if there is a parental consent on record.

Parents who would like to give consent for testing can do it online here:

Providence Schools made the decision to stagger the return to school with the following phased approach:

  • Pre-K, kindergarten, grade 1, 6, and 9 students will return to class Monday, January 3.
  • Grade 2, 3, 7, 10 and 11 students will return to class Tuesday, January 4.
  • And finally, grade 4, 5, 8, and 12 students will return to class Wednesday, January 5.

Providence wasn’t the only school district to hold a testing event ahead of Monday.

East Providence School Superintendent Kathryn Crowley said 790 students and staff received rapid testing during Sunday’s clinic at Martin Middle School.

There were 113 positive tests, according to Crowley. She said more testing is planned to take place in the schools.

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