Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 01-13-2021

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JANUARY 13-19, 2021 NORTH PROVIDENCE 3 NORTH PROVIDENCE – As students head back to school this week, the state is rolling out a new COVID-19 surveillance testing pro- gram for schools. For now, North Providence School Supt. Joseph Goho said the district will be taking a "wait and see" approach with regard to the pro- gram. Goho said he's spoken to the dis- tricts involved in the surveillance testing pilot program last month, learning that the rollout was "a sig- nificant and labor-intensive under- taking" for school leaders already stretched thin during the pandemic. "They said it took two and a half hours to test a single cohort of stu- dents," Goho said. "My concern is the fact that the schools are already under such duress with contact trac- ing." Contact tracing involves alert- ing those who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. Goho said the school dis- trict is essentially responsible for con- tact tracing because the state has been running behind in notifying individuals. "We're contact tracing using classroom seating charts, bus seating charts … we do it all to determine and notify close con- tacts of exposures," Goho said. Close contacts are advised to quarantine. That process takes up a lot of resources, he said, and the district currently has three school nurses out on medical leave, further depleting the staffing. If the district is to begin surveil- lance testing, he said, the adminis- tration of tests would fall on school nurses, principals and other trained personnel. "From what we understand from the districts that participated in the pilot version, this requires an awful lot of time and planning," Goho said. "So for now, we'll wait and see." Surveillance testing helps gauge the prevalence of COVID-19 within a school community by periodically evaluating samples from randomly selected non-symptomatic individu- als. Goho said North Providence school leaders will be closely observ- ing other school districts who do begin surveillance testing this month. He is also hopeful that an at-home version of the surveillance test will become available to families. "We have asked if we could have BINAX tests available at the schools for symptomatic students and staff, but the state does not yet have BINAX tests available for schools," he said. The town has opened its own testing site at the North Providence Public Safety Complex across from North Providence High School, which Goho said is a convenient location for families seeking a test. With that added resource, he said, there may not be a need at this point for the schools to take on their own "labor-intensive" surveillance testing program. Goho: Schools will wait and see on testing program By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer nicole@valleybreeze.com GOHO Chamber offers Get More from your Team webinar Jan. 20 LINCOLN – The Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with The Employers Association of the NorthEast to offer informative webinars includ- ing Get More From Your Team on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. In this webinar, they will touch on some tools and techniques to ensure your teams are performing to help your organization reach the goals set out. The cost is $50. To register or for more information, visit https:// tinyurl.com/y3wlfuq5. Board set to hear about projects NORTH PROVIDENCE – The Planning Board, at a 6 p.m. meeting tonight, Jan. 13, will consider plans for two major projects. A plan for an eight-unit condo development on Mainella Street behind Stop & Shop on Mineral Spring Avenue is set to go to the board, as is the plan for the redevel- opment of the former St. Patrick's School property on Woonasquatucket Avenue into 24 residential units. The condo project is being pro- posed by Mainella Street LLC, repre- sented by regular town condo devel- oper Armand Cortellesso. The plan for the 24-unit project at the old St. Patrick's School, from applicant Tom and Kelly Clayton, was postponed from last month. They have submitted an application for master and preliminary plan approval for a major land development project. The Planning Board will consider both projects, as well as a plan for a small subdivision at 505 Woodward Road and a single-family home on High Service Avenue, at its virtual meeting. BIRTHDAY CLUB Here is an addition to our January birthday club: JAN. 25 Marilyn Santomaro, Happy Birthday, Mom! We hope you have a great day. Love, Phil, Talia, Nico and Rita

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