BOSTON (WHDH)–BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts began distributing 227,000 rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests Saturday to every school district, officials said.
The state is slated to hand out the remaining test kits to school districts on Sunday.
It’s hoped teachers and school staff will be able to take the tests before returning to school Monday.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had announced last week that it purchased more than 200,000 rapid tests for statewide distribution to statewide so faculty and staff could be tested. But the first of the tests didn’t arrive until Friday.
On Saturday, the National Guard and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency began distributing boxes of the kits to representatives from school districts at a facility in Franklin.
“At the end of the day, we’re trying to use every mitigation strategy we can to have a good outcome in our schools,” said Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley on Saturday. “We’re one of the few states in the whole country that’s been able to supply both masks and test kids in advance of returning back to school.”
Each school district was expected to receive enough test kits to give two tests to each staff member.
However, the Pentucket Regional School District on Sunday said that due to supply chain issues, each staff member will only receive one test kit.
The delay in the arrival of the test kits prompted the state’s largest teachers union to urge that schools be closed Monday so staff could get tests. But the state rejected that request.
Several school districts, including Burlington, Cambridge, and Lexington, have chosen to postpone their reopening so that staff can be tested before returning to the classroom.
Cambridge officials will close school on Monday and Tuesday for staff and student COVID-19 testing, returning to class on Wednesday, Jan. 5, officials said Friday.
(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)