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FRAMINGHAM On his first day as Mayor in City Hall, Mayor Charlie Sisitsky announced he made a deal with the Framingham Public Schools to distribute 3,500 rapid covid-19 test kits to students.

The kits will be distributed as early as tomorrow.

These tests will be distributed to school-based nurses on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 following a formula that prioritizes our schools with the highest percentage of economically disadvantaged students and families, said the Framingham Public Schools.

This distribution method aligns with the state directive to provide tests to individuals and families who are facing financial hardship, said the Mayor to the City Council’s finance subcommittee tonight.

Additionally, this distribution broadens the city’s existing outreach efforts which supplied thousands of at-home tests to and through community partners.

“I am grateful to FPS and DPH for working with me to very quickly develop and implement this effort to get 3,500 COVID tests into the hands of the students who need them most,” said Mayor Sisitsky. “This is part of my overall plan to swiftly distribute the remainder of 10,000 kits, received from the state in December, throughout our community by the end of the week.”

Mayor Sisitsky also told the City Council’s finance subcommittee that kits will be given to the Framingham Public Libraries as well and that the last of the 10,000 kits will be distributed this week.

Last week, School Committee Chair Adam Freudberg said the district tried to secure free rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits for families & students through the City of Framingham, but the Spicer administration rejected the request, not once but twice last week.

The Baker-Polito administration provided about 10,000 free COVID-19 rapid test kits, with two tests per kit, to the Spicer administration.

City of Framingham Health Director Alex DePalo distributed thousands of kits to community partners. She has refused to release which organizations received the kits, when, and how many to the public or the media.

Many of the cities in Massachusetts distributed their kits before Christmas and several communities held on some kits and distributed to families with school-age kits this weekend, with school set to resume today, January 3.

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DePalo told the SOURCE the City only distributed about 500 kits to the public via a sign up form and all the other kits when to organizations.

Framingham Public Schools “requested a direct allocation of tests to distribute to kids before school returns and it was not accommodated,” wrote Freudberg on social media on December 29. “Requests were made for Project Beacon to stay open during the holiday, which was also not accommodated. And there is no known interdepartmental coordination on nonprofit outreach and distribution. I am confident the cities usual non profit partners will do a stellar job getting the tests out – transparency would creates some extra community confidence though.”

“The city should really reconsider the value of getting tests out immediately this weekend for those who need to work and go to school this Monday, rather than have them sit in storage for another week,” wrote Freudberg on Wednesday, Dec. 29, “I know FPS continues to try and secure tests from numerous sources. I’m grateful for their efforts to keep trying even during a vacation week and even when the supply chain isn’t easy to work with.”

DePalo and former Mayor Yvonne Spicer did not respond to those requests from the School Department and no test kits were distributed to students this weekend.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.