While Haverhill’s COVID-19 Code is Yellow, Whittier Tech Students to Eat Lunch at Home

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. (Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

Haverhill’s COVID-19 status, recently changing from green to yellow, means students at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School will be eating lunch at home when classes begin tomorrow.

Whittier Tech’s School Committee voted last week to make the change after the city’s COVID-19 cases went from less than four cases to between four and eight cases per 100,000 residents. The school had planned for students to eat lunch in the cafeteria, lobby or outdoors, weather permitting. They would have eaten at socially distanced desks and grouped by their cohorts.

“Based on the state’s data on recent local COVID-19 case numbers and the ‘yellow’ designation of the City of Haverhill, we are proceeding with caution and will continue closely monitoring local and state public health data to make decisions to promote the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff,” Superintendent Maureen Lynch said.

All students at Whittier Tech will receive free breakfast and lunch meals through the month of December. The free meals have been made possible by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is allowing summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals amid the challenges of COVID-19. This includes serving meals outside of otherwise required group settings and meal times and allowing parents and guardians to pick up meals for children and teens.

During in-person learning days, students will receive breakfast upon entry to the building and will eat breakfast in their first period classroom. At the end of the day, students will receive a bagged lunch when they leave the building. Students will pick up additional packaged meals for remote learning days when they leave the building after in-person learning as well.

This fall, Whittier will follow a hybrid learning plan through which students will be split up into Cohort A or Cohort B. Cohort A will attend school in-person Tuesdays and Thursdays and Cohort B will attend school in-person Wednesdays and Fridays.

The decision to have students eat lunch at home will be reevaluated every two weeks.

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