We all want our students in school, as we have said consistently.
The following statement was issued today by MTA President Merrie Najimy concerning guidance issued on April 27 by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:
Educators across the state are happy to welcome more high school students back into their school buildings, as long as the health and safety protocols that educator unions worked tirelessly to win for the school community continue to be observed.
Our top priority for the precious little time left until the end of the school year is to support our students’ social, emotional and academic well-being and rebuild relationships. At all grade levels, time should not be wasted on MCAS, a racially biased test that will only compound our students' trauma.
Our top priority for the precious little time left until the end of the school year is to support our students’ social, emotional and academic well-being and rebuild relationships.
We continue to believe that districts should have the right to decide how to respond to any health and safety issues that arise, including by closing classrooms, buildings or entire districts, if necessary, to deal with a rise in COVID-19 cases. The need to honor local decision-making was underscored as we saw a sharp increase in cases after more students returned to their schools starting earlier this month.
The sooner everyone who is eligible becomes vaccinated, including students aged 16 and above, the sooner we will all be safer and more relaxed in our school buildings. The state should facilitate the efficient vaccination of eligible high school students, not create barriers to the local administration of vaccines like those that were created for school employees. We have very high hopes for the fall — but high hopes should not lull us into letting down our guard too early.