While we share the aspiration of students returning to in-person instruction as quickly as possible – particularly our students with significant needs and early education students – we are surprised to hear of this announcement, because we have not heard from the state about a vaccination plan for educators, it is clear that many families-particularly families of color-still prefer remote learning. We have been in constant communication with DESE and Commissioner Riley, and wonder how an announcement on reopening schools can come before an announcement on vaccinating educators.
Educators have been doing our job both in-person and remotely for a long time now. Challenges regarding simultaneous teaching still remain unaddressed. We need the Governor to share not just aspirations, but a robust plan to get educators and families vaccinated for the safety of all. This announcement is also incongruent with the latest CDC guidelines.
For the last few months, our union has been clear on what educators continue to need for in-person learning: strict enforcement of safety protocols, upgrades to aging ventilation systems in our school buildings, fast and transparent testing methods, and vaccinations for educators and vulnerable community members. If getting students back in-person is as critical to the State as they are indicating, these attainable measures need to be put in place immediately.