Take Action! Let communities decide what’s safe!

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Educating students during a pandemic is one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. It is taking a toll on educators, students and families because we lack the necessary resources and guidance.

We all want nothing more than to be back together in our schools. But Governor Charlie Baker, Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley and Education Secretary Jim Peyser are not helping us accomplish the shared goal of doing this safely. On Nov. 6, Baker suddenly and dramatically moved the goal posts, changing the coronavirus metrics in a way that reduced the number of high-risk “red zone” communities from 121 to 16. That number has now risen to 30, as case counts continue to rise.

On the same day, the state issued new guidance stating that all districts in the gray, yellow and green zones, and even most in the red zones, should be open to all students, even though that would mean shredding the physical distancing practices that are helping keep students and staff safe.

Riley has followed through on his threat to audit districts that he doesn’t think are opening for in-person learning quickly enough — clearly a scare tactic that is taking time and attention away from addressing urgent current needs.

Members flooded Riley’s office with calls about this issue last week. This week we are asking you to email Riley, Baker and Peyser to let them know why local communities are in the best position to make reopening decisions.

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