Newton's Schools Need Surveillance Testing

On Friday, January 8th, Governor Charlie Baker announced that he is making weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing available for schools. With the pandemic raging, pre-k elementary, and middle schools already open for in-person learning, and Newton planning to open high schools for in-person learning on January 27, it is critical for the safety of students and staff that the Newton School Committee enroll in the statewide COVID-19 testing program and utilize the program to the fullest extent possible.

We are entering the most difficult and dangerous period of this pandemic. Newton has been fortunate that case counts in both the city and in the schools have been relatively low, but we cannot continue to count on good fortune. In the upcoming months, schools will only be as safe as we make them.

As Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders told reporters at Governor Baker’s news briefing: “we have a powerful new tool in our tool kit that didn’t exist in the spring.”  

Newton must avail itself of this new tool. If Newton wants students to be back in school, and to STAY in school, it must seize this opportunity to make our schools as safe as possible.