Haverhill Schools to Pause In-Person Learning for Two Weeks After Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

Haverhill school bus. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill schools are going back to all remote learning for two weeks following the Thanksgiving holiday.

The action came during a special School Committee meeting last night after Superintendent Margaret Marotta expressed concern about continuing with the current hybrid mode. She said there is anxiety not only because of the continuing increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, but also because of the strain it is putting on teachers, nurses and other school personnel.

“We have felt it in the school system. There has been an intense pressure over the last several weeks as this has gone through an uptick,” she explained.

Marotta presented the Committee with a number of options for putting in-person learning on pause during the holiday season. Those ranged from a one-week hiatus to keeping the schools closed until January.

Haverhill’s school pediatrician Dr. John Maddox, who has been an advocate for in person learning, also supported taking some kind of break over the holidays to reassess the ongoing situation.

“I think it’s appropriate for us to think about taking a strategic pause, and I think we should really use that time to think about what do we need to do to be able to sustain the good work we’ve done,” he said.

Committee members were split over how much downtime would be best for students. In the end, however, they voted for one week of full remote for everyone followed by a second week where only Cohort C students would attend in person. All students return to their previous model on Dec. 14.

That proposal passed by a vote of 4-3 with Vice Chairman Richard J. Rosa and members Scott W. Wood Jr., Paul A. Magliocchetti and Gail M. Sullivan in favor.  Toni Sapienza-Donais, Maura Ryan Ciardiello and Mayor James J. Fiorentini were opposed.

Additionally, the Committee voted to allow teachers that do not have any students during the second week of the break to conduct classes from their homes.

The Committee also voted to suspend all sports and other extra-curricular activities during the same two-week period, with the exception of SAT tests which are scheduled for Dec. 5.

Comments are closed.