BOSTON (CBS) — The Massachusetts Teachers Association said Tuesday that is calling for the state to require COVID vaccinations for eligible students as well as anyone working in schools.

The union’s board voted 46-4 Monday night in favor of the mandate, which it says is “vital to the continuation of in-person learning in Massachusetts.”

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“By taking this step, the MTA continues to play a lead role in advocating for what we all want the most: to be in our classrooms with our students in a safe environment,” MTA President Merrie Najimy said in a statement. “Requiring vaccines for educators and eligible students is a reasonable measure to take for the common good.”

The MTA said it supports regular COVID testing for anyone who is not eligible to be vaccinated or who has a medical exemption. Coronavirus vaccines are currently authorized for kids 12 and older.

In addition to a vaccine requirement, the MTA said it is calling for upgraded ventilation in school buildings, access to quick COVID tests for all, social distancing and universal masking in schools, per CDC recommendations.

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“Educators and our unions are doing everything in our power to ensure that public schools and colleges can open safely and stay open,” Najimy said. “We continue to be alarmed by the failure of state political leaders to follow our example — and their refusal to engage with other stakeholders during this critical time.”

Gov. Charlie Baker has said that he does not believe a statewide mask mandate for schools is necessary at this time.

The Massachusetts Department of Secondary Education “strongly recommends” children in grades K-6 should wear masks in school because they are not able to receive a COVID vaccine.

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CBSBoston.com Staff