BOSTON – Jessica Tang, President of the Boston Teachers Union, has released the following statement on today’s school reopening guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Today we applaud the CDC’s efforts to provide schools with robust guidance on safely coming back into the classroom. For the first time since the pandemic began nearly a year ago, we have clear, actionable safety measures to keep both students and teachers safe. It will also be important for Congress to ensure districts have the funding they need to implement the guidance.
The risk mitigation measures outlined by the CDC, including 6 feet of social distancing, mandatory masking, hand washing, cleaning, and proper ventilation, are standards long voiced by BTU as measures that would allow a return to in-person instruction. While these measures will go a long way to ensuring the health and safety of the Boston Public School community, we are glad to see the CDC recognize the fluid nature of the pandemic as well, with their 4-tiered ranking system for calculating the risks of reopening based on COVID-19 test positivity rates. Reopening, as the CDC lays out, is not a blanket order for all communities but must rely on the facts and risk levels present in each individual school district. Vaccinations are still an important part of the solution and we will continue to advocate for access to them.
Lastly, we are heartened to see the Department of Education cite BTU’s Collective Bargaining Agreement as a key example of a successful reopening strategy in the first volume of their ED COVID-19 Handbook and look forward to its full implementation as we return to in-person instruction this spring. We know what we have been advocating for is consistent with what science and research have taught us and we will continue to fight for what we know is best and safest for our students, educators and our communities.”