Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), together with BioReference Laboratories, Inc., an OPKO Health company (NASDAQ:OPK), announced a ‘Back to School’ COVID-19 testing program offering students at New York State public schools the opportunity for free COVID-19 testing prior to or at the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Students will be tested using highly accurate RT-PCR laboratory-based COVID-19 tests.
To participate in New York’s ‘Back to School’ testing program, students must pre-register and schedule a COVID-19 test appointment at one of the 115 Rite Aid drive-thru locations throughout New York State prior to returning to the classroom. Testing appointments will become available prior to the start of the school year, and individuals are required to pre-register and schedule a time slot for testing at bioreferencelabs.bioreference.com/nyschooltesting. Students ages 4-17 must access testing with consent from a parent or legal guardian and be accompanied by a guardian at time of testing in the drive-thru.
The ‘Back to School’ program includes The Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT), which is a program that helps reduce disease spread in schools, ensures that schools are safe environments for learning, and supports the reopening of schools. The ICATT complements other U.S. government efforts to expand testing in schools, such as the Health and Human Services (HHS) Expanded Testing Initiative Hub Program announced in February, and the $10 billion funding announced by HHS in March through the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) Cooperative Agreement.
“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, executive vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Rite Aid. “Providing access to COVID-19 testing 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.”
Digital results will be delivered to parents for students to bring to school. COVID-19 testing is voluntary and will be provided at no cost to the student’s family or to the school district for this program.
"As governor, my priorities are now the priorities of the people of New York -- and right now that means fighting the Delta variant," Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "Number one on the list is getting children back to school and protecting the environment so they can learn safely. As a part of our efforts, we are launching a ‘Back to School’ COVID-19 testing program to make testing for students and staff widely available and convenient. We are proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, BioReference and Rite Aid on this important initiative.”
“BioReference is proud to continue supporting New York State’s active surveillance programs with this ‘Back to School’ testing program,” said Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Chairman of BioReference Laboratories. “It is imperative that we support programs that help to provide a safe environment for students to return to in-classroom learning.”
About BioReference Laboratories, Inc.
BioReference Laboratories, Inc., is one of the largest full service specialty laboratories in the United States that gives healthcare providers and patients the power to make confident healthcare decisions. With a focus on genetics, oncology, urology and women’s health, BioReference offers comprehensive test solutions and unparalleled expertise based on a 40 year legacy of proven science. The company is in-network with the largest health plans in the United States, serves approximately 19 million patients annually, operates a network of 11 laboratory locations, and is backed by a medical staff of more than 300 M.D., D.O., Ph.D., genetic counselors and other professional clinical and scientific personnel. With a national footprint and niche market experience, BioReference provides credible and innovative solutions that meet the needs of employers, governmental agencies, educational systems, hospitals and health systems, correctional institutions, sports leagues, travel and leisure industries, and retail markets. BioReference provides industry-leading custom solutions for COVID-19, including point-of-care testing and large-scale screening programs. https://www.bioreference.com/
About Rite Aid Corporation
As the trusted, everyday care connector, Rite Aid drives lower healthcare costs through better coordination, stronger engagement, and personalized services that help you achieve whole health for life. We provide an array of whole being health products and services for the entire family through over 2,500 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. Through Elixir, we provide pharmacy benefits and services to millions of members nationwide. For more information, www.riteaid.com.