Rite Aid is working with the Department of Health and Human Services and BioReference Labs on a back-to-school COVID-19 testing program for New York public school students ahead of the state’s 2021-22 school year. The program will offer free RT-PCR lab-based COVID-19 tests.
To participate, students pre-register and schedule a test appointment at one of New York State’s 115 Rite Aid drive-thru locations before returning to the classroom. Students ages 4 to 17 years old have to access testing with parental or guardian consent and be accompanied by a guardian when testing at the drive-thru.
“Our work with HHS has enabled Rite Aid to be on the front lines of the pandemic since the beginning, doing our part to keep the communities we serve healthy,” said Jocelyn Konrad, ex-ecutive vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Rite Aid. “Providing access to COVID-19 test-ing for school-aged children is critical, particularly for those who are not able to be vaccinated, as we continue to fight the pandemic and get closer to a return to normal.”
The program is part of HHS’ Increasing Access to Testing, or ICATT, effort, which is focused on reducing the spread of COVID-19 in schools to support reopening scools. Besides the ICATT ef-fort, HHS has launched an expanded testing initiative hub program and committed $10 billion through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Cooperative Agreement.
“As governor, my priorities are now the priorities of the people of New York -- and right now that means fighting the Delta variant,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was sworn in Aug. 24 following the resignation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “No. 1 on the list is getting children back to school and protecting the environment so they can learn safely. … We are proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, BioReference and Rite Aid on this important initiative.”
After testing, digital results will be delivered to parents, allowing their children to provide the results at school.
“BioReference is proud to continue supporting New York State’s active surveillance programs with this back-to-school testing program,” said Dr. Jon Cohen, executive chairman of BioRefer-ence Labs. “It is imperative that we support programs that help to provide a safe environment for students to return to in-classroom learning.”