COVID-19 Testing for Students and Staff in Pre K-12 Schools and Child Care

General Information

This page has information about COVID-19 testing for students and staff at public and private Pre K-12 schools and family and center-based child care programs.

To schedule a test at a State-run K-12 test site in your community, either call the K-12 COVID-19 test scheduling service at 844-857-1814 or create an account on portal.ri.gov. The K-12 COVID-19 test scheduling service is available on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Services are available in multiple languages. Children over the age of 16 must schedule an appointment themselves. 

If you use the test scheduling service phone line, notify the representative if you are requesting a COVID-19 test for a student with special healthcare needs. Test site staff will be made aware of any accommodations in advance.

COVID-19 testing is free and you do not need to have insurance. There is no cost to participate in COVID-19 testing at school or at a State-run site in your community.

For information about reopening Rhode Island’s schools, district learning plans, and K-12 outbreak response protocols, visit back2schoolri.com. 

The Rhode Island Department of Health recommends COVID-19 testing for students in K-12 schools.

  • Students can have COVID-19 without any symptoms but can still spread the infection to other students.
  • Testing in K-12 schools can identify students who are infected and need to isolate at home to protect other students from getting COVID-19.

Some school districts offer COVID-19 testing to students and staff in schools. Contact your child’s school or district to find out if COVID-19 testing is available. If testing is available, you can complete a consent form to allow your child to participate in testing. Students 16 and older do not need a signed consent form to get tested at school. Learn more about the different types of tests offered in schools. 

Follow-up testing

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) recommends getting a follow-up PCR test if you do not have symptoms and get a positive result on your rapid test.

Rhode Island has adopted this protocol in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The updated protocol supports Rhode Island’s effective clinical use of rapid tests in different testing situations. A follow-up PCR test also confirms whether you and your close contacts need to isolate or quarantine.

If you got a positive result on your rapid test at a K-12 school, you can go to any general-public test site or K-12 test site to get your follow-up PCR test. You do not need an appointment or insurance to get a follow-up test.

Follow-up PCR test form for K-12: It is recommended that you fill out this form before going to the test site to get your follow-up PCR test. Hand the completed form to test site staff when you arrive. 

It is highly recommended that you get your follow-up PCR test on the same day you had your rapid antigen test. Results from PCR tests that are collected within 48 hours may be accepted as a confirmatory test result. If you do not get your recommended PCR test within 48 hours after your rapid test, RIDOH will consider your positive rapid result final and start contact tracing.

PCR tests are sent to a lab. Results are usually ready in 1 to 2 days on portal.ri.gov/results. It is very important that you stay home and away from others as much as possible while you wait for your PCR test results. Do not go to school or work.

If your follow-up PCR test result is negative, you are not infected with COVID-19 and may return to school and all other activities. Contact tracing is not needed. Close contacts do not need to quarantine.

If your follow-up PCR test result is positive, you have COVID-19 and should isolate at home. Contact tracing is needed. Close contacts should quarantine. More information is available at covid.ri.gov/whattodo.

State-run K-12 test sites are open to all staff and students in Pre K-12 schools and child care.

The Rhode Island Department of Health recommends testing if you:

  • Have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Are a close contact of someone else who tested positive for COVID-19. A close contact is someone who was closer than six feet for more than 15 minutes.

To schedule an appointment at a State-run K-12 test site in your community, call the K-12 COVID-19 test scheduling service at 844-857-1814 or schedule a test online at portal.ri.gov.

After you schedule a test, you will get a confirmation email with the date, time, and place of your/your child’s appointment.

A parent or guardian must go to the test site with any child who is younger than 16. Anyone who goes to a test site must wear a mask and follow physical distancing rules.

If you or your child are scheduled for a drive-up appointment, please stay in your car and keep the windows closed until someone who works at the test site asks you to open them a little bit.

If you are scheduled for a walk-up appointment, people who work at the test site will show you where to go.

All State-run K-12 test sites only do PCR testing.

If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, call the K-12 COVID-19 test scheduling service or cancel your appointment through portal.ri.gov.

Anyone tested at a K-12 test site will get a PCR test only. This type of test is sent to a lab for analysis. Results are usually ready in one to two days. 

You will receive an email or text when your COVID-19 test results are ready. Results can be accessed at portal.ri.gov/results. You will be asked to enter your personal information and the date you were tested. You will get an error message if you try to access this portal before your results are ready or if the information you enter does not match the record.

If you need help finding your test results, call the K-12 COVID-19 test scheduling service at 844-857-1814. This phone service is available on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. and weekends from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Please wait 48 hours from the time of your appointment to call about the result of your PCR test.   

Click here for more information about COVID-19 test results. 

What To Do While You Wait For Results

If you have symptoms, isolate yourself from other people in your home as much as possible while you wait for your results.

If you do not have symptoms but have been identified by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, stay home and follow quarantine guidance while you wait to get your test result.

More information about isolation and quarantine is available here.

RIDOH Letter Requests: Rhode Islanders who need to provide verification of their quarantine status, isolation status, or test results may request a letter by submitting this online form. Letters will be sent by email and are usually ready in 72 hours.  Instructions  Types of Letters  

What To Do If You Test Positive

Anyone who tests positive needs to isolate for at least 10 days from the first date they developed symptoms. You can return to school or work after 10 days if you have been fever-free for 24 hours without taking a fever-reducing medicine and if your symptoms have improved.

If your COVID-19 symptoms get worse, call your primary care provider or your child’s pediatrician.

If you tested positive but do not have any COVID-19 symptoms, you must isolate for 10 days after the date of your test.

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 10 days from the last time they had close contact with that person. Any close contacts may shorten their quarantine to seven days if they receive a negative result from a test taken five days or more after their date of exposure. MORE INFO ABOUT CLOSE CONTACTS

More information about what to do if you test positive is available on this page.  

What To Do If You Test Negative

If the person tested is the close contact of a positive case, they may shorten their quarantine period to seven days if they receive a negative result from a test taken five days or more after their date of exposure. MORE

If the person tested was not a close contact and the test result is negative, they can go back to work or school after symptoms have improved and they have been fever-free for 24 hours without using a fever-reducing medication. Do not go to work or school if you feel sick.

Learn more about how to protect your household from COVID-19.

Click here to search for a test site near you. Call 844-857-1814 or go to portal.ri.gov to make an appointment at a K-12 test site.

Testing Sites for K-12 Only