Quincy, Mass. (WPRI) — As schools prepare to reopen this fall, the largest teachers union in Massachusetts has voted in favor of mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees and eligible students.
Massachusetts Teachers Association President Merrie Najimy says we’re at a new level of the pandemic due to the Delta variant, and they need to do everything in their power to keep students, educators, and their communities safe.
On Tuesday, the union voted 46-4 in support of mandatory vaccines for public school staff and eligible students.
The motion would require regular COVID-19 testing for those who don’t get vaccinated, those who are not yet eligible, and those who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons.
The union’s board has urged Gov. Charlie Baker and state education leaders to issue a mask mandate.
“The governor has been visibly absent for weeks, so the MTA continues to step in to fill the void of leadership,” Najimy said. “Now is the moment not to let down our guard. If we want to meet our goal of keeping schools and colleges open, we need to follow CDC guidelines.”
Baker has said he does not feel a mask mandate is necessary, given the current COVID data.
He’s also rejected the idea of vaccine mandates, though he said this week the state would be working to facilitate hundreds of clinics to help students and teachers get the shot.