WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today joined the Massachusetts Teachers Association, American Federation of Teachers of Massachusetts, students and advocates in calling for full remote learning in Massachusetts this fall. Her full statement is below:
“Any decision on how to approach the upcoming school year must center the voices of those most impacted – our students, educators, and their families. Over the past several weeks, I’ve heard directly from students, parents, educators and superintendents who have overwhelmingly expressed their concerns about sending students and educators back to the classroom before it is safe to do so. Schools throughout the Commonwealth—particularly in communities hardest hit by COVID-19 like so many across the Massachusetts 7th—are not equipped with the resources, equipment, classroom facilities and staff necessary to safely reopen for in person courses. The safety and health of our children, educators and community must come first. Therefore, I believe we must begin the school year with fully remote instruction.
“As the parent of a school-aged daughter, I understand the gravity of this decision and the challenges posed by remote learning for our students and their families. But rushing to reopen our schools will directly jeopardize the lives of our students and educators, and that is a risk we cannot take. Let me be clear, this public health crisis is not under control. The Republican White House has been woefully negligent and inadequate in their response. We must use the coming weeks to plan for equitable remote learning scenarios while we work to stabilize the public health crisis and get our schools the resources and support they would need to safely open. In these extraordinarily challenging times, I’m grateful for the leadership and partnership of our school superintendents and municipal leaders, and I will remain in close contact with them as we all work to affirm the safety and success of our young people.”
This week, Congresswoman Pressley convened a youth-led listening session where she heard directly from students across the Massachusetts 7th congressional district as they discussed what it has been like to balance schoolwork, caregiving responsibilities and jobs to support their family in the midst of this public health crisis. She also heard from students who had lost families members to COVID 19 and students who pointed to the challenging tradeoffs schools, educators, and families are forced to make. Additionally, students spoke to the limitations of remote learning and the challenges students with disabilities faced during the pandemic.