NTA EBulletin January 24, 2021
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Dear Colleagues, Last week's EBulletin was long and read much like a legal brief. If you haven't yet, you can read it by clicking here. I will keep this week's EBulletin short. It is a direct plea to you to support the NTA as we push for safer schools NOW, to bridge the period from now until vaccines become available. We have now sent a total of 635 emails to David Fleishman, the School Committee, the Mayor, and Newton Health and Human Services Commissioner Deborah Youngblood urging them to implement surveillance testing with all due haste. We sent approximately 150 emails since last week's EBulletin. We are two thirds way to a thousand emails. Please, if you have not yet, support the NTA by clicking here. This is not the time to become complacent. Yes, we are close to the time when vaccines will become available. But we cannot let down our guard, and we must call on our Newton leaders to do all they can to keep schools safe until vaccines become more widely available.
This article in today's New York Times, "Why Vaccines Alone will not End the Pandemic," assesses how many more or fewer cases there will be nationwide between now and July under varying scenarios--those in which we not only maintain, but also increase, our vigilance, and those in which we let down our guard, and varying scenarios in between. The numbers are incredibly high--and the study does not factor in the spread of the new, more contagious, and possibly vaccine resistant variants.
This article in CNN, "A Pandemic Playbook for a New Year," discusses the various ways we can increase our vigilance--improved masks, bi-weekly surveillance testing in schools and other institutions (a recommendation from Newton resident Dr. Ashish Jha), inexpensive and simple to install carbon dioxide testers for classrooms to measure fresh air intake.
Yes, there is reason to hope as vaccines become available soon. But there are also reasonable steps the district can and should take now to get us to that place more safely--protecting not only staff and their families, but also students and their families as well. Please, if you have not already, email Mayor Fuller, the School Committee, David Fleishman, and Commissioner Youngblood, and urge them to increase our vigilance, including the implementation a full surveillance testing program for the entire district—students and staff. Anything short of this is just too risky. "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Please take care and stay well. Mike