Representative Dooley October 27th COVID-19 Update

Congratulations to the Dodgers! I am very happy for Dave Roberts - such a great guy. And I’m still really confused on why we got rid of Mookie - oh well, we had a good run.

We are now under a week till the election is over. Well, unless it is close and then the mail in votes that come in after the election will come into play and I don’t even want to think about that. We need healing in this country and if that sort of thing happens it is going to be a shit show - yes that is the technical term. I pray that this is not the case because our country needs to come together no matter who is our president and if it becomes a battle in the courts - that will only add to the division.

Not to mention, I will have to get all of my halloween decorations put away and start putting up Christmas lights. Got some new cool things for this year - but it is going to take me quite a bit of time to set it all up. Have to build some things to go with everything. So I would rather not be driving out to some midwestern state to help on a recount. Not to mention that my wife would kill me.

For the 4th day in a row we were over 1000 cases at 1,025 out of only 13,727 tests. So about 7.5% of those tested, tested positive. There were also 7 new deaths attributed to covid. Everything else stayed flat or ticked up a hair.

Education Secretary Peyser and DESE Commissioner Riley testified before the Joint Committee on Education on Tuesday as part of a legislative oversight hearing on the state's return to school. They were pretty adamant that they want school districts to begin to have kids back in school. Peyser stated, ”It is increasingly clear that schools are not a source of transmission.” This emphasis on making sure as many students are able to return to the classroom as possible comes as the Trump Administration is preparing to send more than 2 million rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to Massachusetts that will be deployed to an initial group of schools in early November. "If you don't have any transmission in your schools, it's probably fine to continue to have kids go to school," the governor said.

One of the big issues with increasing the number of kids in the classroom is transportation. Riley said DESE was reviewing whether it could safely loosen the guidelines for school transportation and distancing on buses, particularly for rural school districts where students must travel longer distances to get to schools.

"That is still in development and no decision has been made on that and it has to be blessed by medical professionals," Riley said.

Another big concern is MCAS testing which it appears the administration is planning on instituting in the spring. I’m not a fan of high stakes testing although this year I actually think the data will be interesting to compare the hybrid and at home models versus past years where kids were actually in the classroom. Peyser said the MCAS would be important this school year for the state to understand how much learning students lost by being home for many months, or trying to learn remotely. While he predicted an increase in pressure to suspend the exam for another year, he called that a "stalking horse" for ending standardized testing completely. Riley said the department also has no reason to believe that the federal government will relax testing requirements in 2021, which is linked to substantial amounts of federal education aid. "We do need, at a bare minimum, diagnostic statewide data and I think parents want to know if their kids have lost ground and how much," Riley said.

So, last night I commented on the hockey shutdown and today Gov. Baker does a press conference on the subject. Coincidence??? I think not! But there was one interesting aspect that they pointed out. They said their decision was prompted not only by the multiple clusters but also because some adults and coaches stymied the state's attempts to get a grasp of how far transmission spread. "There were a number of instances where the team would not hand over the rosters of players, so you didn't even know who was playing for us to make the contact, or coaches in a couple of instances telling families and the players to not respond to the contact tracers," Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders told reporters. "Not sharing the rosters so that you can't make the phone calls is, for us, not acceptable.” I’m not sure what organizations these were but none that I have been affiliated with - around here everyone has been incredibly conscientious.

Sudders said the administration is preparing "strengthened guidances" that will mandate compliance with contact tracing efforts, including a clear requirement that teams must share rosters. While she did not outline significant details about the new regulations, Sudders said they will communicate "the expectation that if there's not cooperation, we would close down the rink or the team.”

3 more days to early vote. After that you must do absentee if you can’t vote on November 3rd. Not that you aren’t reminded every 30 seconds on tv, internet, or wherever - but I love election day so I want to make sure I do my part to keep getting the word out.

Keep doing what you are doing and stay safe. Every little bit helps so don’t let the covid burnout get to you. Have a great Wednesday!

Keep smiling!


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