State's Covid Testing Program To Begin In Westerly Schools

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island is implementing a “test to stay” option in the Westerly schools as a pilot program to minimize days out of the classroom during the pandemic, the governor said Wednesday.

Other districts nationwide are using this method, where children can remain in school despite exposures to infected people as long as they continue to test negative for COVID-19.

Families of students too young to be vaccinated can elect to participate in Westerly. Fully vaccinated students do not have to quarantine.

Westerly Superintendent Mark Garceau said he wanted to participate in the pilot because each time the district has a positive case, a dozen or more otherwise healthy students have to quarantine, The Providence Journal reported.

The U.S. moved a step closer to expanding COVID-19 vaccinations for millions more children as a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s shots for 5- to 11-year-olds. The FDA isn’t bound by the panel’s recommendation and is expected to make its own decision within days.

The advisory panel's recommendation prompted two of Rhode Island’s vaccine committees on Wednesday to say the state is planning to begin vaccinating that age group in early November, WPRI-TV reported.