Red Sox Provide Free COVID-19 Tests For Select Boston Teachers

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A selection of members from Boston Teachers Union will be given free COVID-19 tests for the rest of the year, thanks to a partnership between the Red Sox, the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission.

According to Mayor Marty Walsh, the COVID-19 tests are being provided to the City free of cost through Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 community testing program, in an effort to help with Boston's return to in-person learning this fall.

“Our first priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and everyone in our Boston Public Schools community,” Mayor Walsh said Wednesday. “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."

Starting this week, five percent of Boston Teachers Union members will be selected and invited to be randomly tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis 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.

Selected members will be administered an FDA-authorized COVID-19 test through a saliva collection kit. 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 did not compete with public health testing needs.

Walsh said there will be an oversampling of teachers working in neighborhoods with COVID-19 rates higher than eight percent, which is double the citywide threshold of concern.

“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.”

Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang said the union is grateful for the Red Sox' commitment to helping ensure safety in schools during the pandemic.

“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,” Tang said.

Boston Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez said the partnership between MLB, the Red Sox, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the City creates another access point of testing for teachers, as the City works to get the youngest Bostonians back into the classroom in a safe manner this fall.

In addition to the testing initiative, Walsh said the Red Sox, in collaboration with Jet Blue and Boston Pride, have donated more than 60,000 reusable masks to Boston Public School students and teachers. Students who return for in-person learning will receive a mask when they return to school this fall.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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