Massachusetts school districts awarded funding to increase COVID-19 response

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A medical worker, right, administers a shot of a coronavirus vaccine to Gloria Raudjarv, 13-year-old girl, at a vaccination center inside a sports hall in Estonia’s second largest city, Tartu, 164 km. south-east from Tallinn, Estonia, Thursday, July 29, 2021. Estonia’s second largest city Tartu is making rapid progress in vaccinating children aged 12-17 ahead of the school year in September. Around half of the town’s teenagers have already received their first vaccine, and local health officials are confident they will hit 70% in the coming 30 days. (AP Photo/Raul Mee)

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health awards $12.6 million for school health workforce and local COVID-19 response.

This includes $8.6 million in grants for school districts to expand the school health workforce and enhance schools’ ability to respond to COVID-19 and $4 million for local Boards of Health for COVID-19 contact tracing and case investigations.

School Health Workforce Funding

Forty-three school districts across the Commonwealth will received $8.6 million in funding over two years through the Crisis Response COVID-19 Supplemental Funding for Workforce Development from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These funds will be used to hire additional school nurses, expand the roles of school nurse leaders responsible for health and safety activities across entire school districts, and add additional staff to assist with case management, contact tracing, COVID-19 testing, and student mental health needs within school communities.

Local Public Health Funding

Building on a previous $16.6 million investment, the Administration has awarded an additional $4 million to local boards of health for COVID-19 contact tracing and case investigations, bringing the total amount of direct federal and state aid provided to local public health for contact tracing since April 2021 to $20.6 million. These funds are part of the state’s efforts to build and strengthen local public health by providing them with additional funding, training, and technical support as they respond to COVID-19.

“All of these funds will assist and support two groups that have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response – our school health workforce and our local health departments,” said Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “We are grateful for all of their efforts to address the critical health and safety needs of Massachusetts residents throughout these challenging months, and the Administration is committed to being an active partner as we transition into the next phase of the pandemic.”

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