Teaming Up With Teachers

October 15, 2020

Not in living memory have public school teachers faced such dangerous conditions on the job. Decades of neglect have left many school buildings in disrepair, making the COVID-19 pandemic especially concerning for school staff who are being asked to resume in-person learning.

MassCOSH staff and members of our Health Technical committee were invited by the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) to participate in school building walkthroughs with Boston Public Schools (BPS) at six schools on 9/16/20. We were also asked to provide a technical review of data collected by BTU building representatives’ during their walk-through inspections conducted with school leaders, nurses, custodians, parents, and high school students throughout 105 schools in the District between 9/14/20 and 9/18/2020.

The results of these walkthroughs and analysis revealed major issues relating to inadequate ventilation, indoor air quality inspection data, and cleaning protocols. The results were compiled into a report that concluded that many BPS classrooms and buildings were not yet prepared to be safely used by students and staff. Our findings were presented at a BTU community forum with over 500 teachers, school staff, and parents and was covered by TV news and local newspapers, reflecting just how important healthy schools are to parents, workers, and the public.
Our analysis and support of the Boston Teachers Union is part of MassCOSH’s latest efforts to protect teachers and school staff as Boston experiences a frightening uptick in COVID-19 cases. Click here to view our report, How Safe are our School Buildings?