Teachers, parents voice school concerns; 22 new deaths

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BOSTON (AP) — A statewide coalition of teachers, school nurses, parents and other school employees has released a list of issues it says need to be addressed before Massachusetts schools can safely reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

The recently formed Coalition to Safely Reopen Schools in a statement this week called for a phased approach to reopening, with no in-person learning unless and until those issues are resolved.

Some of the measures the group seeks include appropriate social distancing guidelines, effective ventilation and air circulation in all schools, safe cleaning practices, accessible and rapid COVID-19 testing, and clear guidelines for contact tracing.

“Ours is a frontline perspective from those who will be ultimately responsible for the health, safety and the quality of education students will receive as a result of these decisions,” the coalition said in its statement.

Most Massachusetts school districts are planning hybrid model of in-person and remote learning when schools reopen this month, although several of the largest districts in the state are starting fully remote.

The organizations that have endorsed the document include the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and the Service Employees International Union.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

Massachusetts reported 22 newly confirmed coronavirus deaths and nearly 300 newly confirmed cases Wednesday, pushing the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to more than 8,850 and its confirmed caseload to more than 119,400.

The seven-day weighted average of positive tests was 1%. The true number of cases is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were more than 300 people reported hospitalized Wednesday because of COVID-19, and nearly 60 in intensive care units.

The number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 related deaths at long-term care homes rose to more than 5,800 or about 64% of all confirmed and probable deaths in Massachusetts attributed to the disease.


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