Massachusetts National Guard activated to test students for COVID-19

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker announced on Tuesday that he is activating the National Guard to help schools test students for COVID-19.

Up to 200 members of the Massachusetts National Guard will be assisting to support COVID-19 testing in K-12 schools. Baker’s executive order will begin with training Guard members this week and administering COVID-19 testing in schools by Monday, October 18.

More than 2,200 schools have signed up to participate in at least one of three types of testing:

  • Test and stay
  • Symptomatic testing
  • Pooled testing

According to the news release sent to 22News from the state, results from pooled testing show positivity rates of less than 1 percent since the start of school this fall. The test and stay is used to test close contacts, has saved approximately 25,000 school days for students who would have otherwise had to quarantine.

“We are very thankful to the men and women of the National Guard for their assistance to help school districts handle some operational challenges in order to continue to keep students, teachers and staff safe,” said Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “The National Guard was there when we needed them to drive some children to school due to a nationwide bus driver shortage, and now we are thankful they are once again willing to serve the children of the Commonwealth with COVID-19 testing.”

“We are grateful that the National Guard has stepped up once again, as they have throughout the COVID-19 response, to serve the Commonwealth where needed,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Today’s activations will ensure that we have additional staffing support for our school testing programs to help kids stay safe.”

“The Guard has a long history of supporting our communities in times of need, and have answered the call time and time again during the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.

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