Baker stands by schools that reopened Monday

Coronavirus

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker stood by schools that decided to reopen as scheduled on Monday, despite a slower-than-anticipated distribution of COVID-19 testing kits for teachers and staff, and a call by the state’s largest teachers union to delay the start of the classes by a day.

“The vast majority of the school districts and schools in Massachusetts are opening today,” the Republican governor said a news conference at a Salem school. “Which I think is incredibly important and a terrifically positive sign about the hard work that so many people around the Commonwealth are doing every single day to make sure kids get the education that they’re entitled to and that they deserve.”

The state purchased more than 200,000 testing kits to be distributed statewide for testing employees, but some districts did not get the tests until the weekend.

Several school districts canceled classes Monday to give teachers and staff a chance to get tested. At least one delayed the start of school two days. Others had delayed openings.

“There was all kinds of talk last week about how school wouldn’t open in Massachusetts today,” Baker said. “School did, pretty much across the Commonwealth.”

The Massachusetts Teachers Association last week urged the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to cancel Monday classes. The state rejected the idea.

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