The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. has reserved over 12,000 COVID-19 test kits for Public School System students, in line with the planned reopening of schools in September.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is therefore encouraging PSS teachers, staff, and students to get tested for COVID-19 since there are enough test kits reserved for them. “We encourage our PSS family—over 1,000 to 11,000 faculty, teachers, staff, and students—[to get tested]. This is to give safety to our students before they go to school, so we encourage them to get tested,” he said.
Torres said CHCC and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force will have these kits reserved and readily available for PSS staff and students and a specific time for testing may even be arranged for this group.
“We will have these 12,000 test kits reserved for them at any time they want to roll out and schedule. We might even have specific times for them because they have [a large] number of students, faculty, and staff,” he said.
Additionally, Torres said, CHCC and the task force are also more than willing to reserve test kits for private schools and the Northern Marianas College. “We are reserving to make sure, and that’s just for PSS. We are also willing to reserve separate test kits for our private school students and NMC. …We want to make sure that we have enough test kits for everyone. We have 60,000 and if we have to order more, we have that relationship,” he said.
During a previous Board of Education meeting, board members raised concerns about reopening schools in September. One of the concerns was how and if COVID-19 testing would be required of students and staff tested for prior to the reopening. BOE member Marylou Ada also raised concerns about how PSS would address the sanitation and disinfection of classrooms.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said that reopening schools in September is still tentative as PSS is awaiting guidelines from the Governor’s Task Force and CHCC and additional updates on the current pandemic.