Text of the Letter (PDF)
BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) submitted testimony to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Board in support of Boston Public School (BPS) students who have been calling for stronger efforts to combat COVID-19 in schools, including remote learning flexibilities.
Rep. Pressley’s testimony was submitted before the DESE Board meeting today and follows a statement sent earlier this month in support of BPS students who walked out of class to demand stronger COVID-19 safety measures in schools.
In her letter, Rep. Pressley cited the unprecedented trauma the pandemic has had on young people and urged the Board to hear the concerns of the students, many of whom live with elderly and immunocompromised loved ones and contribute financially to their households.
“As you meet today to discuss the Commonwealth’s efforts to support schools, students and families, I implore you to listen to the students who are speaking out and heed their calls for more aggressive action,” Rep. Pressley wrote in her letter. “No student should have to fear for their health and safety in order to access an education and it is absolutely critical that policymakers at all levels of government do everything we can to provide students with the tools and resources necessary to safely learn and thrive.”
Last month, Rep. Pressley wrote to Governor Baker urging him to implement a statewide mask mandate and a series of lifesaving measures to mitigate the ongoing spread of the coronavirus in Massachusetts, including more flexibility to allow for remote learning options when necessary and advised by public health experts.
Rep. Pressley also wrote to the Governor in August calling on him to take immediate action to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in public schools and congregate settings across the Commonwealth.
In August 2020, Rep. Pressley hosted a listening-only session with students from every community in the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District to hear their thoughts on the upcoming school year and calls to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 crisis.