Massachusetts’ National Guard will help test for COVID-19 in public schools as staffing shortages cause delays

A member of the National Guard drives a school bus.
The governor of Massachusetts called in the National Guard to assist amid the school bus driver shortage.

  • Massachusetts’ governor activated the National Guard to help test students for COVID-19.
  • Two hundred National Guard members will help test students in public schools across the state.
  • It comes as many of the state’s school districts face testing delays due to a staffing shortage.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated 200 members of the state’s National Guard to help test students for COVID-19 in public schools, the Boston Globe reported on Tuesday.

Baker’s decision comes as many of the state’s schools are facing delays in testing due to a staffing shortage caused by an increase in districts signing up for testing services, the report said.

Members of the National Guard will begin training this week before helping at schools starting on Monday.

CIC Health, which provides testing for schools in the state, has hired over 1,500 people to help with the efforts and is looking to increase that number.

State Rep. Mindy Domb put pressure on the Baker administration to activate the National Guard last month, and wrote in a letter to state leaders that “the inconsistent rollout of the pooled testing program could be jeopardizing the health of our school communities.”

According to the Globe, schools can participate in different testing programs for free.

Schools can test individuals who have symptoms at the school, they can test students or staff in large groups, and they can test close contacts of positive cases to determine if they need to be sent home to quarantine or not.

The move comes after Baker activated the National Guard last month to drive school buses as a driver shortage forced school delays and interruptions around the country, Insider previously reported.

The Baker administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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