School Ventilation Focus of Haverhill Summer Maintenance as Anti-COVID-19 Measure

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta, standing, answers questions at the first meeting of the Consentino School Building Committee while Allison Heartquist, mayoral chief of staff, listens. (WHAV News file photograph.)

With the decision that schools will be open for classes this fall, maintenance staff have been focused on air quality repairs and improvements.

Superintendent Margaret Marotta and Assistant Superintendent Michael Pfifferling told School Committee members Thursday night that teams have working overtime this summer to create safe and healthy buildings with an emphasis on classroom ventilation. Pfifferling explained what has been done so far.

“Some of the things we’ve been doing in our buildings this summer is we’re already working with our building inspectors, fire inspectors and health inspectors. Our crews and contractors have been doing a tremendous amount of work to resolve issues that have been issues in the past. In addition to that, we’re also doing inspections on our HVAC work, so we’re making some great strides with our HVAC systems, and again, the most important part of the HVAC for COVID is the V, the ventilation—getting fresh air in, exhausting the existing air that is in the building, turning the air over a couple of times an hour. So that’s our most critical item,” he said.

Pfifferling added they have been repairing and replacing windows and screens at the schools to ensure continued ventilation in the winter and, he said, they are replacing school bubblers with 28 bottle filling stations.

Superintendent Marotta added to the list other items that are being addressed for safety purposes.

“Sinks across the school district. We’ve just been through all the classrooms to make sure that the sinks work, repaired where necessary. We’re installing soap containers and hand sanitizing stations everywhere. PPE signage should be in force in the next week or so,” she said.

For his part Mayor James J. Fiorentini said that when the schools have met all of the required safety standards, he would like safety certification certificates mounted in each of the classrooms, saying that would go a long way towards reassuring parents as well as teachers.

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