Haverhill School Superintendent Details Coronavirus Precautions Underway

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta shows 2019 plan to add a St. James middle school district. (WHAV News file photograph.)

With coronavirus taking nine U.S. lives as of Tuesday, Haverhill Public School Superintendent Margaret Marotta appeared live on 97.9 WHAV FM to discuss precautions the schools are taking, including possibly calling off foreign field trips.

Marotta said the School Department is in touch with the state Department of Public Health as well as the Department of Education to implement best practices should there be a local outbreak.

“Certainly, in other countries where schools have been closed for weeks and months at a time, we’re hopeful that won’t happen here, but it is a possibility that we’re preparing for at this point and starting to think about,” she said.

Whether it is coronavirus, the flu or other illnesses, Marotta said, there is already a policy that those with fevers should remain out of school.

“We are asking, and it is our school policy, that if children have a fever of 100.4 or more that we keep kids at home. That’s our policy at all times, but just to be specifically aware right now that while we want kids in school every day, if they do have a fever, if it is over 100.4, they should stay at home,” Marotta added.

She added, school pediatrician John L. Maddox recommends students with fevers should see their family physicians before returning to classes.

The superintendent shared some commonsense precautions families should take. These include washing hands for a full 20 seconds; avoid touching mouth, nose and eyes; sneezing or coughing into your elbow—known as the “vampire” cough; and avoid touching other people after sneezing.

She said a planned extracurricular trip to Italy, where there have been about 80 coronavirus-related deaths, is “unlikely” to take place. Discussions continue about other scheduled trips to Greece and Poland. Officials are working with travel agencies in an attempt to avoid financial impacts on families or the school system in case of cancellations.

The full interview is available at WHAV.net, under Podcasts, and on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, TuneIn and Alexa.

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