THE EVERETT ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2021 Page 3 ~ OP-ED ~ Vaccines do not replace testing W By Mayor Carlo DeMaria hile the City of Everett has begun to vaccinate the community in accordance with guidelines detailed by the Commonwealth, I’d like to remind everyone that vaccinations are not a replacement for being tested. We have vaccinated our first responders and began to vaccinate our senior citizens. This is a sign of hope and I am proud to help protect our community from COVID-19. As we receive additional doses, we will continue to vaccinate our residents according to the Commonwealth’s guidelines. Unfortunately, due to availability of the vaccine, we are unable to vaccinate our entire community at once. This means that the virus is still present and we need to continue to take precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19! We encourage resPARENTS | FROM PAGE 2 ers programs, which form a sizable portion of students. Joining Almeida-Barros, who chairs and sponsored creating the subcommittee, were Ward 4 School Committee Member Dana Murray and At-Large Member Samantha Lambert, along with Superintendent Priya Tahiliani and her leadership team. The Subcommittee invited leaders of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), Fernanda Rocha and Flavia Souza, to share their and other parents’ thoughts and concerns about the current remote learning and upcoming hybrid plan. “Although the district has done a great job with remote learning, the experience for our kids with special education has been very difficult,” said Rocha. “Many children are falling behind with classes over Zoom. They don’t want to turn the camera on and engage in the class; parents that I spoke to have really seen a regression in their kids’ education,” she added. “I know we are in the midst of a pandemic, but there are other districts around us who are safely doing hybrid classes, and I’m hopeful we can do the same in Everett for the sake of our kids’ mental health,” said Souza, whose son attends the Webster School. Expressing similar sentiments were parents whose p.m. and 2 p.m.-7 p.m., in addition to Friday & Saturday from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. We have also partnered with Carlo DeMaria Mayor idents to get tested if you are displaying symptoms or if you have been exposed to someone who has the virus! Testing remains available and free for our residents. We have established an indoor testing site at the Samuel Gentile Recreation Center at 47 Elm St. Testing is conducted Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m.-1 kids are in the English Learners Program. EPS Lead Family Liaison Mirlande Felissaint and Family Liaison Esthela Borghesan read testimonies from parents who shared their struggles with remote learning. A parent originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo whose son attends the Parlin School shared that his son is losing English skills he was learning before the pandemic because he doesn’t understand what is taught though Zoom. “He is confused, lost interest in school, and now is Kraft Center for Community Health, Mass General Brigham, and the Massachusetts General Hospital Community Health Centers to have a testing site for only Everett residents. Testing at this site will be conducted on Thursdays between 8 a.m.-12 p.m. This site is a walkup mobile site located at the Norwood Street parking lot at 158 School St. Although our daily case numbers are trending lower than before, please remember to get tested. We still have active cases in the community that can spread, and getting tested can save lives. Until we have defeated COVID-19, I encourage you all to continue to wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing. We will persevere and get through it together. back speaking French only,” read the testimony. “My son needs to go back to school.” Another parent whose kids attend the Parlin School and Everett High School indicated that her kids’ teachers said that they are not doing well in school and missing classes. “I don’t know what to do because they don’t want to connect online, and I don’t speak English well to be able to speak with the teacher and help my kids. I really hope PARENTS | SEE PAGE 17

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