BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio)— Governor Charlie Baker announced Tuesday he would be activating the National Guard to help with COVID testing at Massachusetts schools.
The governor activated up to 200 service members to work directly with schools to help assist in the different methods of COVID testing employed at the state's schools. The National Guard members will begin training this week and start to work at schools administering tests starting Oct. 18.
“The National Guard was there when we needed them to drive some children to school due to a nationwide bus driver shortage, and now we are thankful they are once again willing to serve the children of the Commonwealth with COVID-19 testing,” Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said in a statement.
Over 2,200 schools are enrolled in one of the state's three different COVID testing protocols—test and stay, symptomatic testing, and pooled testing.
This is the second time this school year the governor has used the National Guard to help with school issues. He previously called the National Guard to help with driving school buses due to a driver shortage.
Governor Baker's order also included 250 National Guard service members being sent to counteract potential staffing shortages within the Department of Corrections. Those servicemembers will begin training this week to help with any transportation or security needs within the DOC.
The governor called for the National Guard to help with the DOC in anticipation of a drop in staffing levels ahead of the state's vaccine mandate for correctional workers coming into effect on Oct. 17.