Massachusetts Teachers Association urges schools to close Monday for staff COVID-19 testing

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Teachers Association made an announcement urging the state to close schools on Monday for staff to get tested for COVID-19.

Massachusetts Teachers Association President Merrie Najimy released a statement saying:

“After spending yesterday consulting with our environmental health and safety committee and public health experts, the Massachusetts Teachers Association is calling on the state education commissioner, Jeffrey Riley, to keep all schools closed Monday, to except for COVID-19 staff testing. To protect the public health and safety of our communities, there is an urgent need to allow districts to use January 3 to administer COVID-19 tests to school staff and analyze the resulting data.

Educators and the MTA have long called for better access to COVID-19 tests, which led the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on Wednesday to announce the arrival of 200,000 tests for school staff. But without a strategic plan to make testing available before this weekend, the ability to ensure safe learning environments for our students and staff by Monday morning is dramatically reduced.

We recognize that delaying the return to school of some students poses problems for families. But if there was a blizzard on Sunday night, no one would question the wisdom of declaring Monday a snowy day. With the omicron variant spreading and COVID-19 positivity rates in the state exceeding 16% on the most recent seven-day average – and with Massachusetts now reporting more than one million cases of coronavirus since start of the pandemic – it’s fair to say that the health and safety risks we face from COVID-19 far outweigh those presented by a Northeast. “

said President Merrie Najimy, Massachusetts Teachers Association

Additionally, President Najimy added that the possible decision to make Monday only a test day for staff will allow Massachusetts school districts to develop an emergency plan and decide whether or not students should return to school. distance learning. The MTA tries to establish a safe way to return to in-person learning while overcoming logistical barriers, to ensure the protection of students, families, educators and communities.

Andrew B. Reiter