Red Sox partner with City of Boston, Public Health Commission on COVID-19 testing for Boston Teachers Union
To help with the return to in-person learning this fall, the Red Sox, with support from Major League Baseball (MLB), have partnered with the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission to facilitate COVID-19 testing for Boston Teachers Union (BTU) members.
Starting this week, five percent of Teachers Union members will be invited to be randomly tested weekly for COVID-19 through the end of 2020. The testing program will begin at a location near Fenway Park and will move to a different location at a later date. A randomized sample of teachers will be tested from across the city with an oversampling of teachers working in neighborhoods with COVID-19 rates higher than 8 percent, which is double the citywide threshold of concern.
"Our first priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and everyone in our Boston Public Schools community," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "This testing program is one way we can support our teachers as they get ready to head back to their classrooms for in-person learning. We thank the Red Sox and Major League Baseball for partnering with us on this program, and the Boston Public Health Commission for organizing and implementing this weekly testing plan."
"As part of Major League Baseball's COVID-19 testing program, the league wanted to ensure there was opportunity to extend their testing benefits beyond the clubs and players, and into the communities where teams operate," said Red Sox President Sam Kennedy. "We are grateful to MLB for giving us this opportunity to partner with the City of Boston and help with their back-to-school rollout."
"As we plan to welcome students back into our school buildings, BPS understands that our schools are the hubs of our community and we are taking every precaution to keep Bostonians safe and healthy," said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. "I am so thankful to Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox organization for this profound commitment to the health of our educators, our students and of the entire community. In the City of Boston we truly are all in this together."
"We are grateful to the Red Sox and their commitment to helping us ensure safety and health in our schools during this pandemic," said Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang. "We hope that the early success of this initiative will enable us to explore further expansion of such efforts as we continue to keep health and safety a priority for our students and educators in order to head back into buildings for critical in-person services and learning."
Teachers Union members will be administered an FDA-authorized COVID-19 test through the Spectrum Solutions SDNA-100 saliva collection kit. The tests are being provided to the City free of cost through MLB's COVID-19 community testing program. Testing will be conducted by the Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was established to ensure that the testing of players and staff throughout the 2020 MLB season does not compete with public health testing needs.
The City of Boston has also continued its work to increase access to testing for residents throughout Boston's neighborhoods. Yesterday, in partnership with East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Mayor Walsh announced that the City of Boston's COVID-19 mobile testing site will now be located in Grove Hall. This mobile site testing initiative was announced by Mayor Walsh back in May as a way to help fill any gaps in testing availability, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing. The site has previously been located in Roxbury, Allston, South Boston, Mattapan and East Boston.
"We know that access to data is one of the most useful ways to help keep our city residents safe during this pandemic," said City of Boston Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. "This partnership between MLB, the Red Sox, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the City allows us to create another access point of testing for our teachers as we all work to get our youngest Bostonians back into the classroom in a safe manner this fall."
In addition to the City's mobile testing sites, COVID-19 testing is available at over 20 locations across the city. Mobile testing sites also continue to be available at select locations, prioritizing neighborhoods and populations that need dedicated testing efforts to create equitable access to testing. Individuals can call the Mayor's Health Line with any questions using 617-534-5050. For a complete list of all testing sites, visit here.
Mayor Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee have dedicated over $1,794,825 to expand COVID-19 testing and conduct culturally appropriate outreach and education to community health centers across City of Boston neighborhoods, including Bowdoin Street Community Health Center, Codman Square Community Health Center, The Dimock Center, DotHouse Health, Mattapan Community Health Center, Uphams Corner Community Health Center, Whittier Street Community Health Center, Charles River Community Health, Fenway Health, Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center, Harbor Health, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, South Boston Community Health Center, NEW Health Charlestown, South End Community Health Center, and Brookside Community Health Center. The Fund has also supported telehealth services and equipment at those community health centers as well to connect testing to safe treatment options at home.
Resources and information about COVID-19 are available online. Resources available on boston.gov and through City departments include support for renters and homeowners; small businesses; free meals for Boston students; free toiletries for Boston students; support for older residents; information on homeless shelters; resources for those in recovery or those who have a substance use disorder; and mental health resources. More information on Boston's reopening can be found at boston.gov/reopening.
For additional questions or programs, please visit our coronavirus website or call 3-1-1, Boston's 24-hour constituent hotline. Text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to receive text alerts on a regular basis, available in 11 languages.