HANOVER, Mass. — As students across the state head into February break, school districts are voicing concerns about families traveling and bringing COVID-19 back with them.
According to state guidelines, anyone who leaves Massachusetts is either supposed to quarantine for 2 weeks or get a negative COVID-19 test.
“My children are 15 and 17,” parent Kelly Ross told Boston 25 on Friday. “We are headed first to New Hampshire to do some skiing, and then to Maine.”
Ross explained that her family had plans to lay-low and enjoy time away while following all of the individual state guidelines.
“We’re going to bring our food, stay in our Airbnb and just get away,” she explained. “We’re going to quarantine, that will be our plan. And then get the negative PCR test before we go to school.”
In Hanover, faculty are taking on extra responsibility by requiring students who travel to send in their negative COVID tests directly to their school nurse before returning.
The district has been and will continue to partner with the Hanover Fire Department for help.
“We’ve been working with the school since prior to school to make sure that there’s a testing option available for people who need it,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jason Cavallaro. “We recognized that February vacation was coming up. We recognized that people will most likely be traveling.”
Deputy Chief Cavallaro told Boston 25 that firefighters have been helping administer free COVID-19 tests at the Hanover Council on Aging, which has become a key resource of free testing in the community.
“We just want people to know that your town does have a convenient on-demand, free option to get that test. And the results come back relatively quickly, in time for Monday to start school or to start work.”
The only problem, according to Cavallaro, is that both the Saturday and Sunday before school starts up again are already booked solid.
He explained that they hope to add more appointments.
“We opened up a limited amount of test appointments. Those quickly were filled so we keep adding a limited amount just to meet the need,” he said. “Right now we’re limited to 120 each day, and 120 each day are filled.”
Even with individual district protocols in place, the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) told Boston-25 News on Friday that teachers across the state are worried that students may bring the virus back into the classroom.
“This is an especially worrisome time with the new variant, so with every school vacation comes increased socialization and traveling, and that can contribute to another surge,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy.
“Teachers are very worried. We have to remember that teachers are entrusted to take care of society’s most precious resource, which is our students, our children. The state has to step up and take care of the educators who are taking care of them.”
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