State education officials, medical experts, politicians and teacher unions could be on a collision course next year over whether to continue in-person learning in schools across the country. Massachusetts infested with coronavirus.
School systems statewide are sweating in hopes of averting a major COVID-19 outbreak that could send children back to distance learning – an option Governor Charlie Baker promises not to happen.
The Baker administration announced on Wednesday it was sending 200,000 home COVID tests to school districts across the state – a preventative measure that shows education officials are committed to keeping children and teachers in schools even amid an increase in cases.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education said in a statement that the delivery will allow all teachers and staff to take a test just before returning to work after the vacation.
“It is essential that we do everything we can to ensure that students continue to learn in the classroom,” said Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley. “Providing these tests to teachers and staff is one more thing we can do to make sure this is possible. “
“We all remain committed to keeping schools open despite the recent increase in COVID cases,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.
Rise ? It’s the understatement of the year. More like a tsunami.
But there will be immense pressure on Baker and school officials from health experts and some unions to stop in-person learning if thousands of students, teachers and staff are infected.
The fight could even spill over into the 2022 race for governor.
Baker is not running for a third term, but Republican candidate Geoff Diehl has been a strong supporter of keeping schools open.
The two Democrats announced in the race, Harvard professor Danielle Allen and State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, as well as potential attorney general candidate Maura Healey, could find themselves under heavy pressure to bow to the unions. teachers if they decide to fight Baker’s Order. to keep students in schools.
The stakes are high for all parties in this political pool game.
Thousands of children who could contract the virus could then pass it on to their vulnerable parents or grandparents – and Baker will be blamed for being stubborn if that happens.
Education experts all know that keeping kids in school and not distance learning is the best outcome for the state’s most vulnerable population – students. Epidemiologists say it’s safe to be in school as long as there are regular tests and masks.
No one wants to go back to the early days of the pandemic, when students slept during class while sitting in beds or on sofas at home.
Baker shouldn’t put his head in the sand, but listen to health experts and seek a fair solution for everyone, including teachers and schoolchildren