American Federation of Teachers urges state to return to remote learning

Coronavirus Local Impact

Charles Hoppmann is swabbed for a COVID-19 test as his family of four departs for a vacation in Milan, Italy, at a testing center operated by Nomi Health inside Miami International Airport, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, in Miami. Nomi nurses said that both demand for tests and positivity rates at their testing center have risen significantly since Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

BOSTON (WWLP) – The American Federation of Teachers in Massachusetts released a statement on Friday morning regarding the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 within the Commonwealth.

The president of the federation Beth Kontos said, “Massachusetts public school students and their families have struggled with the uncertainty and anxiety of the COVID pandemic for two years. They have the right to know that after the holiday break they are returning to safe schools. Given the ever-increasing infection rate and the virulent behavior of the current COVID strain, we know they will not.”

Currently, Massachusetts is witnessing record breaking infection rates, which has families and education staff alike concerned about how schools will operate amid these public health concerns in January 2022.

Additionally, the Massachusetts School Districts vendor for COVID-19 tests has not been able to meet the Friday deadline of distributing testing kits to school across the states, leaving people to question whether or not Monday will be a safe return for students and staff. They plan to try to distribute tests this weekend prior to schools opening back up on Monday, January 2nd.

“The tests provided by the state allow for testing of all teachers and staff, and that should proceed. It should then be followed by a period of remote learning until the current wave of infections abates,” said Kontos.

Kontos added, “This is not the time for finger pointing. It is time for Governor Baker and Commission Reilly to accept the fact that we are in the midst of a runaway public health crisis that is beyond our control. They must acknowledge that returning students to school on Monday will inevitably make the crisis much worse.”

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