Haverhill School Committee members took steps last week to make sure Haverhill schools stay warm this winter despite open windows necessitated by COVID-19 ventilation precautions.
They also are looking at remote learning as a way to offset snow days that typically occur during the season. Season issues were raised by Committee member Toni Sapienza-Donais, who noted she has received calls from parents and teachers about cold classrooms.
“I know that we just came off a stretch of some beautiful days, but previous to that, there were some days that were extremely cold in the classrooms—teachers sending me pictures of their thermostats in their room registering in the 50s,” Sapienza-Donais said.
She went on to say those teachers told her they didn’t want to bring it up with their principals for fear that they would be “labeled as complainers.” School Superintendent Margaret Marotta responded by urging teachers to report problems.
“If people’s rooms are cold, they have to let us know. We have HVAC people all over the school district making repairs and fixing those things. We absolutely have to know where the problems are in order to fix them. I can’t imagine any of the principals would be upset with people. We know there are issues,” she said,
Marotta went on to say new state guidelines suggest opening windows as little as three inches should provide adequate ventilation, which may help keep the school rooms warmer.
In a related matter, the subject of how to handle snow days during the era of COVID-19 was discussed.
Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti pointed out that because remote learning is now part of the norm, unless the weather causes power outages, students could still attend classes via the internet.
All members agreed the option could help offset some of the time already lost by students because of the coronavirus. Members voted unanimously to change the district’s snow days policy accordingly.