Gov. Baker, DESE commissioner to make announcement on schools, COVID-19 testing

BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker and the education commissioner will be holding a news conference at the State House at 10 a.m. Tuesday. They’re expected to announce schools and COVID-19 testing.

Last week, the governor announced the state is receiving 26 million rapid antigen tests over the next three months. The timing and shipping amounts will vary, but the governor assured that schools and childcare facilities will receive priority once those tests come in.

The Baker-Polito administration struck this deal with iHealth Labs, and the cost is being covered by federal coronavirus funds. This should keep schools stocked with tests through March. The governor has maintained kids need to stay in school, and it is safe to do so.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education continues to release the number of positive cases for students and staff every Thursday. This past Thursday, 4.46% of students tested positive for COVID, while 5.25% of staff members tested positive.

The January 6 report included two weeks of testing because it was during the Christmas break. During that period, there was a slight decrease in students testing positive at 4.24%. More than three percent higher staff, 8.72%, tested positive. The week leading up to Christmas was the lowest—at just under one percent of students and just over one percent of staff reporting positive cases.

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