NEWBURY, MASS. (WHDH) - As Massachusetts officials hand out delayed COVID-19 tests to educators this weekend, teachers said they were worried about resuming classes Monday after the holiday break.
After days of delays, 200,000 rapid tests arrived in Massachusetts this weekend and the National Guard helped distribute them to school districts. But because of supply chain issues, each teacher will get one test instead of the planned two.
Union officials said the decrease in tests, as well as concerns about masks being distributed to teachers and the lack of testing information before school resumes, means the state should hold off on bringing students back.
“We won’t have a full and accurate picture unless we can do the testing properly.” said Massachusetts Teachers Association President Merrie Najimy. “We are seeing numbers in this pandemic that we’ve never seen before, and if the commissioner can’t set up and lead he needs to get out of the way and let the educators do it.”
Some districts, like Cambridge and Randolph, are delaying re-opening, but state officials say they do not plan on closing schools. Pentucket Regional Schools Superintendent Justin Bartholomew said the latest equipment, including masks, will keep students and teachers safe.
“The masking up is going to be one of the primary things, the vaccines, and the distance is another piece. The fact that we require masks in schools, that just makes the possibility of spread so much less, we’ve just not seen the spread in schools,” Bartholomew said.
But teachers said they remained concerned about coming back.
“With knowing the students aren’t tested and knowing how contagious it is, yeah, it’s kind of scary,” said math teacher Jodi Farrell.
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