Gov. Charlie Baker says he is pleased that most school districts are planning for at least some in-person instruction. (https://www.vperemen.com/Wikimedia Commons)
August 20, 2020
BOSTON — Nine out of ten Massachusetts parents are concerned their children will catch COVID-19 if school buildings open soon, according to a new poll.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association commissioned the poll from Echo Cove Research and Consulting, which surveyed 600 voters online.
Merrie Najimy, president of the association, said she’s been in touch with tens of thousands of members, who overwhelmingly prefer a remote start to the school year.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t safe to return to in-person learning until several criteria are met,” Najimy said.
The criteria include better ventilation indoors and transmission rate benchmarks. Massachusetts teachers unions are calling for a remote start, and to phase in a physical return once the criteria are met.
However, more than two thirds of school districts are planning for at least some in-person instruction. The most popular option is a hybrid of remote and in-person learning.
While districts have filed their reopening plans, they still need to negotiate terms with local educator unions.
Najimy emphasized free testing with fast results is critical to reopening schools.
“Some of the college students that are going back to the private schools are now going to be tested with rapid testing twice a week for the first month of school,” Najimy said. “We’ve got to be able to replicate that in public education.”
So far, she said the state is failing to satisfy their requirements to go back to school safely. The union and other educators held a “Day of Action” this week across the state to urge a remote start to the academic year.
Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service – MA