Baker: ‘Students should be in the classroom if data supports that’


BOSTON (Mass.) — It’s been a week since Massachusetts students went back to school and Gov. Charlie Baker said it was no easy task.

On Thursday, Baker again asked that districts analyze data and identify trends prior to making a decision regarding closing a school, adding that often an increase in cases can be traced back to a single event.

“Students should be in the classroom if the public health data supports that,” he said.

Baker also announced that the “Stop the Spread” campaign, which provides free testing in 17 communities including Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton, has been extended through the end of October.

He said Massachusetts has been removed from Maine’s travel advisory list, which means residents no longer need to provide a negative coronavirus test or quarantine when visiting the state.

Rhode Island is now the only New England state on Maine’s travel advisory list.

The Massachusetts Department of Health said Thursday there are 455 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 15 additional deaths.

Full breakdown of today’s COVID-19 data ( »

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley emphasized that if a community has been in the low-risk category for several weeks, they should get back to school before it’s too late.

“It would be unfortunate if later in the year a district had to go remote because the virus spiked back up in their community and they recognized, we could have had our kids back in for several months and we missed that window,” Riley said.

Riley said districts are now being asked to inform the department if a student or staff member tests positive, so they may be able to track statewide trends.

Baker also reacted to the results of the Breonna Taylor investigation.

“What happened to Breonna Taylor was a horrible, terrible tragedy,” he said. “Unfortunately, in our country, too many tragedies like this befall people of color and far too often.”

He said he hopes to sign a bill this fall that would enhance accountability in law enforcement and expand training.

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