In simply her first full week in workplace, Gov. Maura Healey faces a surge in COVID-19 circumstances that may check her views on masks mandates and colleges and her disaster management abilities.
With masks mandates in some colleges coming again and the Senate president suggesting they might return to the State House, the brand new Democratic governor will probably be confronted with the identical vexing questions that dominated her predecessor Charlie Baker’s final time period.
A brand new group of Boston public faculty mother and father on Monday issued a name for masks mandates to return to school rooms. Boston faculty leaders have advised college students, employees and lecturers put on masks however stopped wanting a full mandate.
Chelsea public colleges right now began mandating masks for college students and lecturers, citing CDC rankings displaying Suffolk County at excessive threat.
“Masks must be worn in school buildings at all times except when eating or drinking…Mask-wearing will continue to remain mandatory for any person visiting our school health offices, and anyone returning to school from a five-day quarantine,” Superintendent Dr. Almi Abeyta wrote in a letter to oldsters.
The COVID surge can also be affecting colleges outdoors Massachusetts. Schools in Michigan and Chicago are asking college students to be examined earlier than lessons begin, and a few districts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania additionally introduced a short lived return to a masks mandate.
Over the weekend, Senate President Karen Spilka advised mandates may come again within the Statehouse quickly.
The large query is what’s Healey going to do?
The COVID surge may very well be the primary main check of her administration, after dominating the Baker administration’s second time period. But she’s but to articulate a imaginative and prescient for governing throughout a virus surge or be pressured to reply questions on mandates.
In her inaugural tackle, Healey solely briefly touched on the price of the pandemic, noting that it “exposed and widened gaps” in schooling and well being care.
“I also think people are tired,” she stated. “We can speak honestly about that. We’ve come through difficult days.”
Masking has change into the third rail of Massachusetts politics – as Baker and different politicians like Boston Mayor Michelle Wu can attest.
What if lecturers’ unions — which offered key help to Healey’s marketing campaign – determine to get behind masks mandates? Would Healey collapse to their calls for?
During her gubernatorial marketing campaign, Healey required staffers to be vaccinated and usually got here out in help of native masks mandates.
But now that she’s the chief govt, Healey has different constituencies to face – not simply lecturers – as she tries to kind out these troublesome COVID points.