School districts distributing rapid test kits to teachers this weekend

Coronavirus Local Impact

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – With COVID-19 continuing to surge, rapid test-kits are being made available to teachers, before their return from winter break.

Schools will open their doors Monday, after a holiday season that was impacted by the Omicron Variant.

There is a heated debate as to whether schools should hold off opening right away.

According to the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association Merrie Najimy, “Its a reckless approach to say everyone should get into the buildings at all costs.”

The state said they were distributing 220 thousand iHealth rapid antigen test kits over the weekend to school districts after their original order was delayed.

The Agawam school district held a drive-thru Sunday to get them quickly into the hands of teachers. Agawam teachers came to the Junior High to pick up their rapid at home test kits, so they can get tested before returning to the classroom Monday.

Yet, some volunteers had to go the eastern side of the state just to get their testing kits to Agawam.

“Very happy to do it for the teachers of Agawam, it was very organized down in Franklin, the national guard was there,” said Coach David DeMatteo of Agawam.

Coach DeMatteo said there were 540 testing kits waiting for pick-up at the Franklin Warehouse, which is enough for one per each Agawam school staff member.

Despite, the MTA continuing to urge the state to cancel schools Monday, the state has took a firm stance against that.

The Office of the Education Commissioner said the test-kits were not meant to be a requirement for teachers to return to work after the break.

Westfield also distributed test-kits to their teachers this afternoon at Westfield Technical Academy. This came three days after the superintendent issued a letter of the concern to the community, warning that they may have to use emergency closure days in the new year, due to recent staffing shortages.

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