Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) on Tuesday announced he activated the National Guard to help test school children for Covid.
Baker activated 450 members of the Massachusetts National Guard for two missions: 200 members will support Covid testing in K-12 schools and up to 250 member will be used to offset staffing shortages at the Department of Correction (DOC), the governor’s office said.
School Testing Mission
“The Commonwealth has developed a nation-leading COVID-19 testing program to help K-12 students remain in school safely. Over 2,200 schools have currently signed up to participate in at least one of three types of testing: test and stay, symptomatic testing, and pooled testing. Since the beginning of the school year, results from pooled testing show pool positivity rates of less than 1 percent, and test and stay, which is used to test close contacts, has saved approximately 25,000 school days for students who would have otherwise had to quarantine.”
Department of Correction Contingency Planning
In close coordination with public safety officials, the DOC continues preparations for the possibility of a reduction in DOC staffing levels due to non-compliance with Executive Order 595, which requires all Executive Department employees to demonstrate proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by October 17. Activating the Guard in advance of the deadline allows for Guard personnel to immediately begin job-specific training and assume roles, if needed, in the event of a reduction in DOC staffing levels.
Last month Governor Baker activated the National Guard to take children to school amid a massive shortage of bus drivers.
Up to 250 Guard troops were activated mid-September to fill the shortage.
Dozens of state trooper have also resigned because of Governor Baker’s mandatory vaccine mandate.