Haverhill School Committee Ratifies COVID-19 Impact Bargaining Agreement with Teachers

(File photograph.)

The Haverhill School Committee gave its approval last night to an agreement between the district and the Haverhill Education Association.

The teacher’s union and the administration have been locked in negotiations for several weeks trying to agree to an acceptable plan for a school year that has been uprooted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  City Solicitor William Cox presented the 21-page document to the Committee.

“We spent many hours going over all of these details and working out and reaching this very, very comprehensive agreement that covers all aspects of Haverhill public schools and dealing with the COVID-19 issues that have arisen during this school year because of it,” Cox said.

Those issues include air quality, sanitization of classrooms and the increased workload brought about by the combination of hybrid and remote learning.

Anthony Parolisi, teachers’ union president, was also supportive of the agreement.

“I do believe that the spirit of the agreement is a good agreement. I believe that the document that you are reviewing tonight isn’t exactly complete. I’d hoped that we’d be able to have everything buttoned up but I don’t think we’re too far away,” he said.

The items that still need to be worked out involve attendance taking and leave policies.

Mayor James Fiorentini said he is pleased and surprised that an agreement was able to be reached.

“You know, I want to say that I was wrong. I did not think that you’d be able to reach agreement. Everything was so emotional. There’s such incredible stress and strain on all of us and particularly on our teachers and students in this COVID environment. I really want to commend everybody,” he said.

Haverhill School Committee members agreed to delegate to the school administration to work out remaining details with the Haverhill Education Association. Once ironed out, the document is to be sent to the teachers’ union for ratification.

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