MANSFIELD — A steady stream of cars filtered into the Malabar Intermediate School parking lot, the mask-wearing occupants inside waiting patiently to be tested for the novel coronavirus on a sun-soaked early-autumn Saturday morning.
Standing in the shade nearby, Mansfield City Schools Superintendent Stan Jefferson marveled at the number of people taking advantage of the pop-up testing site, one of four such locations around the region offering COVID-19 tests from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We are one community, all of our schools and our businesses and our agencies, and we have to work together to fight this pandemic,” Jefferson said from behind an orange facial covering. “If we are going to beat this thing, this is how we do it.”
Tests were administered by medical professionals from the Ohio National Guard. Both drive-through and walk-up tests were available.
“We thought Malabar would be a great site because of how you can pull up and drive all the way around the building,” said Andrea Moyer, Director of School Improvement and Safety. “They do all the work. They make it simple.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the community.”
Moyer said approximately 150 tests were administered at Malabar on Saturday. Zach Massa, an assistant boys basketball coach at Mansfield Senior, was among those who took advantage of the free service.
“My wife and I just recently got back from a vacation in Mexico. Neither one of us is showing any symptoms,” Massa said. “But I’m also a basketball coach and with open gyms starting up, I want to make sure I’m taking all the proper precautions before being around the kids.”
Tests were provided by the Richland County Foundation, the State of Ohio, WE ACT, Richland County Children Services, the Ashland County Health Department and other local community organizations.
“So many people are here working for the greater good of our county and, most importantly, for the people of our county,” Jefferson said. “One of the goals of our school district is to engage with the families in our community and we couldn’t think of a better way to do it than this.”