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Massachusetts teachers union urges return to virtual learning

"It is time for Governor Baker and Commission Reilly to accept the fact that we are in the midst of a runaway public health crisis that is beyond our control. They must acknowledge that returning students to school on Monday will inevitably make the crisis much worse."

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The Massachusetts chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) made a statement Friday urging schools in the state to return to remote learning in 2022.

The federation's president Beth Kontos commented: "Massachusetts public school students and their families have struggled with the uncertainty and anxiety of the COVID pandemic for two years. They have the right to know that after the holiday break they are returning to safe schools. Given the ever-increasing infection rate and the virulent behavior of the current COVID strain, we know they will not."

Kontos continued, "The tests provided by the state allow for testing of all teachers and staff, and that should proceed. It should then be followed by a period of remote learning until the current wave of infections abates."

"This is not the time for finger pointing. It is time for Governor Baker and Commission Reilly to accept the fact that we are in the midst of a runaway public health crisis that is beyond our control," Kontos added in the statement.

"They must acknowledge that returning students to school on Monday will inevitably make the crisis much worse," Kontos concluded.

According to local outlet WWLP, the Massachusetts School Districts vendor for COVID-19 tests "has not been able to meet the Friday deadline of distributing testing kits to school across the states, leaving people to question whether or not Monday will be a safe return for students and staff."

"They plan to try to distribute tests this weekend prior to schools opening back up on Monday, January 2nd," the local outlet reported.

COVID-19 infection rates are up due to the new Omicron variant sweeping through the state and the nation. However, while highly transmissible, Omicron symptoms are reported to be much milder, and the fatality rate is dramatically lower.

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