Published On: January 2, 2022

“School starts on Tuesday, and the state has dropped the ball on the critical safety issue of testing access. Families and students are also voicing serious concerns about the state’s botched 2022 testing rollout, and as frontline educators, we share many of the concerns that have been raised. The surge has been a well-known possibility for months and it does beg the question of why state education officials were asleep at the switch. BTU educators want to keep our classrooms as safe as possible, so we’d like to see the state do a better job listening to families statewide who’ve demanded better testing protocols and planning for a long time. Governor Baker, Commissioner Riley and the state failed to prepare for the scenario of a surge, and that lack of preparation by the state is rightfully infuriating to families – especially for families with the most medically vulnerable children who face the greatest risk if schools cannot even test staff for COVID-19.

With strong input from families, BTU educators have laid out in writing a thorough set of recommendations for how the state can do a better job protecting in-person learning and making learning as safe as possible. We hope that state education officials will begin to listen to what families and students need. We hope that those state officials will learn from their huge mistake and begin to pay attention to how they can do a better job making our schools as safe as possible in every district across Massachusetts.

We have encouraged the Boston Public Schools to distribute rapid tests quickly and to allow staff who wish to do so, time to pick up rapid tests and KN95 masks on Monday. BPS has agreed to make arrangements to do that, and has published a new set of COVID-19 mitigation measures. Over the weekend, we also advocated for BPS to be prepared to provide time and a concrete plan to reallocate staff on Tuesday morning if necessary. We are in ongoing talks with BPS on those matters and will continue to communicate about those discussions as they proceed.”

– Jessica Tang, President, Boston Teachers Union
Erik Berg, Executive Vice President, Boston Teachers Union

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