Boston superintendent: 155 teachers, staff tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend

BOSTON — Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said 155 teachers and school staff members tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

This comes as the district is set to return from winter break on Tuesday. Cassellius said all schools will be open and in-person Tuesday, but that could change in the days and weeks ahead should too many teachers call out sick with COVID-19. She and Mayor Michelle Wu were up early Monday to help organize rapid COVID-19 test kits for the city’s teachers and school staff.

The two joined the Boston Public Schools Operations Team at 5:30 a.m. Monday at the Campbell Resource Center to get the rapid tests and KN95 masks ready to be handed out to the more than 10,000 school staff in Boston. The state was able to secure 227,000 rapid COVID-19 tests for teachers and school staff statewide. The National Guard began distributing the tests to districts over the weekend.

“I think we’re one of the few states in the whole country that’s been able to supply both masks and test kits in advance of returning back to school,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey Riley. “I just really appreciate all the hard work that’s been done.”

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Boston Public Schools had always planned to return to school Tuesday from winter break, but other districts made the last-minute decision to cancel school Monday to allow for more time to test staff.

A list of current delays and cancellations can be found here.

Cassellius admitted there could be issues getting students to school should too many bus drivers test positive for COVID-19.

“I would anticipate that we will have transportation issues,” said Cassellius. “We will let parents know they should be looking at their app, it will give them notice if there’s no bus coverage. I do anticipate we’ll see transportation delays and shortages during this week.”

Cassellius said there are about 105 standby drivers ready to cover absences, but even that may not be enough.

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