Haverhill Issues Report Card for First week of Remote Learning; Schools Look for Stragglers

Executive Assistant Beverly McGillicuddy, School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan, Superintendent Margaret Marotta and Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling at a Haverhill School Committee meeting. (WHAV News file photograph.)

School bells rang out again this week, albeit digitally, as Haverhill teachers and students began classes via the internet.

Schools were closed for nearly a month because of COVID-19. Last Friday, however, school administrators delivered approximately 3,000 Chromebooks to students throughout the city and on Monday morning, the remote learning plan got underway.

School Superintendent Margaret Marotta reported that although there have been some glitches with Chromebooks that need repair, overall, the first week has gone pretty well. She says that they are still trying to locate some students and that a few others just need to be reminded that classes are back in session.

“I would shout out to Kristen Assad, a teacher at Tilton School who’s found a way to discover kids who are online during her classes and to instant message them essentially that says ‘Hey, it’s class time. Come on and join me.’ So, she’s shared that with everyone and we’re finding a few of the stragglers out there,” she said.

Marotta says that the internet itself has high traffic issues that slows things down a bit, especially in the morning hours, but they still are able to conduct about 325 classroom meetings per day. She also noted that food services have been making sure that students are fed, serving about 1,000 breakfasts and lunches per day.

School committee member Toni Sapienza-Donais inquired about how many students and staff have become victims of the coronavirus. Currently, the number of those infected stands at 10, three of those being teachers. She was also informed that Katie Vozeolas, the director of Nursing Services for Haverhill schools, has recovered from the coronavirus and is now back in the field.

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