The following statement was issued today by MTA President Merrie Najimy on Governor Baker’s school employee vaccine plan and forced reopening guidelines:
While school employees are relieved that the state finally has a plan that will enable many of them to receive a COVID-19 vaccine within the next few weeks, we are continuing to urge the Baker administration to support local vaccination programs. Local programs such as the ones now being implemented in several communities, and the union coalition-developed Last Mile Vaccine Delivery Program, are more efficient and equitable, all while minimizing disruption to student services and the public’s access to mass vaccination sites. Public higher education employees – many of whom are working with students in person – should also be included in this rollout.
In addition, the decision to force schools to open to many more students starting April 5 is poorly timed with the vaccine rollout. Under the administration’s schedule, students will be crowding back into our school buildings, bringing them to full capacity before most educators will have had the chance to be vaccinated.
Circumstances are changing daily, so school communities need time to adapt. That is why we are urging the state to delay the reopening schedule until the Monday after April vacation week – April 26 – at the earliest. This would give staff more time to receive at least one dose of the vaccine and give communities more time to plan for the transition.