MA Educators Welcome CDC Guidance to 'Mask Up' in School
Friday, July 30, 2021
BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers, families and staff safe.
With the Delta variant making its way through the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance this week recommending that all teachers, students and staff in K-12 schools wear masks, even if they've received a COVID vaccine.
Merrie Najimy, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, said this guidance is welcome. With kids under 12 still not approved to receive the vaccine and the vaccination rate among 12 to 15-year-olds still low, Najimy said she thinks other strategies are needed.
"We can have full, in-person learning as safely as possible this fall," said Najimy. "Masking was one of three or four critical mitigation strategies that really helped control transmission in the school buildings."
She added that another critical piece is school buildings' ventilation systems - she said many districts have schools that need upgrades.
The union is also is urging the Commonwealth to provide continued free and accessible COVID testing.
Najimy noted that while being vaccinated is enough to protect most people, COVID still poses a risk to children under 12 or people whose immune systems don't respond to the vaccine.
She added communities of color have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, and feels there is a collective responsibility to ensure that everybody is safe.
"We have the right formula to do that in schools," said Najimy. "It's ventilation, masking, distancing, hand-washing, and testing. So, there's no reason why the state can't step up and provide the leadership that we need at this moment."
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had been planning to lift all COVID restrictions in schools this fall, and Gov. Charlie Baker said prior to the updated recommendations that he wasn't considering a mask mandate.
This week, his office said it will review the updated CDC guidance.
Disclosure: Massachusetts Teachers Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, Civic Engagement, Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
RICHMOND, Va. - As U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., takes heat this week for attending a posh fundraiser in a dress that said "Tax the …
EAST TROY, Wis. - Wisconsin farmers are looking ahead to the fall harvest, and those who use cover crops face a deadline to sign up for a research …
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The pandemic is shining a new light on the burdens felt by family caregivers, and a bill in Congress would remove some of the …
PORTLAND, Ore. - Wealthy Americans have a message for Congress: Tax us more. More than 200 high-income taxpayers and business owners have sent an …
ALBANY, N.Y. - As a U.S. House committee debates the Biden administration's "Build Back Better" Act, a letter from more than 200 wealthy Americans …
By Sonali Kolhatkar for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Lily Bohlke for Commonwealth News Service reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Three New Hampshire professors are among those who've signed a letter urging the United Nations General Assembly to adopt what's …
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - One out of every three people incarcerated in the United States has contracted COVID-19, and a new report shows how state …