The Landscape

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet Tuesday to discuss, among other topics, the CDC’s removal of guidance pushing for schools to reopen. Last week, Education Commissioner Jeff Riley announced more than 130 qualified schools will participate in a rapid COVID-19 testing program. The 15-minute test was distributed to Massachusetts under a contract with the federal government in partnership with Abbott pharmaceuticals. While results are not definitive, Commissioner Riley said the test will help schools stop the spread.

Legislators on Beacon Hill will have the opportunity over the next seven weeks in a lame-duck session to resolve five outstanding conference committees. Negotiations remain open on police reform and social justice, climate change, economic development, health care and a transportation bond bill. Additionally, the long delayed fiscal year 2021 budget remains outstanding. While each branch passed their respective versions of the $46 million FY21 budget, there are variances between both bills requiring a conference committee be appointed to resolve the differences. Branches must act quickly, as the current interim budget is set to expire this weekend.

While stopping the spread of COVID-19 is high on everyone’s holiday wish list this year, a close second is a certification of the Presidential ballots and a peaceful transition of power. With that comes plenty of jockeying for positions within the Biden-Harris administration. With an abundance of political and public policy all-stars here in Massachusetts, only time will tell how the dominoes will fall.

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THANKFUL FOR ZOOM: Zoom is lifting its 40-minute time limit for Thanksgiving Day.