Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) on Tuesday activated the National Guard to both help students test for the Chinese coronavirus and to cover any staff shortages in the Department of Corrections (DOC).
He issued the order on Tuesday, activating as many as 450 members of the state National Guard to assist with two missions, in particular. According to the governor’s press release, 200 members of the Massachusetts National Guard will be used to assist school-age children for China’s coronavirus.
For Baker’s office:
The Commonwealth has developed a nationwide leading COVID-19 testing program to help K-12 students stay in school safely. Over 2,200 schools have currently registered to participate in at least one of three types of tests: test and stay, symptom tests and pooled tests. Since the start of the school year, pooled test results show pool positivity rates of less than 1 percent and test and stay, which is used to test close contacts, has saved around 25,000 school days for students who would otherwise they should have quarantined.
Another 250 “compensate for the potential shortage of personnel” at the DOC. The governor’s office describes it as an “emergency measure in anticipation of possible shortages” at the department.
“We are grateful that the National Guard has stepped up once again, as they did during the COVID-19 response, to serve the Commonwealth where needed,” Baker said in a statement.
“Today’s activations will ensure additional staffing support for our school testing programs to help children stay safe and allow DOC to respond to possible staff shortages,” he continued.
“While we are overall pleased with the progress we are seeing with Commonwealth employees presenting vaccination certificates, we will take all necessary steps to safely manage all correctional facilities,” added the Democrat.
The news comes as first responders and frontline workers in various areas of the country face vaccination warrants, directed by the state, local governments or employers. Many resisted, including nurses, teachers and first responders across the country, engaging in protests against the warrants and speaking out.
In September, the Massachusetts State Police Association revealed that “dozens of soldiers” filed documents to resign on the vaccine’s mandate.
In August, Baker issued an order “requiring all Executive Department employees to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination by October 17, 2021”.
Content created by Hannah Bleau
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