By Bill Shields

BOSTON (CBS) – With February school vacations approaching, many families weary of COVID restrictions are planning time away from the confines of their homes.

“Everybody is exhausted,” said Merrie Najimy, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. “This is taking a toll on all of us and educators are anxious about school vacation, especially with the new variant.”

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School officials across the state are pleading with families to use common sense and take precautions to avoid another spike in cases.

“We saw what happened both after Thanksgiving and after the Christmas breaks, where we saw the spikes in cases and that really prevented schools from being able to continue the process of opening up more robustly,” said Jeffrey Riley, commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “So whatever families can do to limit travel will be greatly appreciated.”

One Saugus family is heading off to Orlando, but not before taking COVID tests. “I already scheduled tests in Florida on Thursday when we’re there, and then we’re going to get rapid tested on Sunday when we come home,” said Amanda Garcia.

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Garcia said her kids desperately need to get away. “I am doing my best to take precautions, but my kids need to be out of the house,” she said.

It’s a sentiment echoed across the state, from just about every parent.

Tufts Medical Center epidemiologist Dr. Gabriela Andujar Vazquez said any vacation should be just with members of your household.

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The town of Hanover has had its own rapid-testing site for residents for months now. And they’re asking that any family who travels for the February break get tested when they return, so their schools don’t see a spike in cases.

Bill Shields