Cyberattack at Haverhill Schools Keeps Seniors from Returning Monday; Educators Tentatively Reach Return Pact

Executive Assistant Beverly Cassano, School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan, Superintendent Margaret Marotta and Assistant Superintendent Michael Pfifferling at a Haverhill School Committee meeting. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill High School seniors will continue to learn remotely Monday as the effects of last week’s ransomware attack linger.

School Committee members accelerated seniors’ return in a vote last month, expecting them back to in-person classes Monday, April 12. However, in an email to families Sunday night, Superintendent Margaret Marotta wrote, “the limited internet access in the schools makes wide-spread synchronous teaching impossible. As such we have made the difficult decision that Haverhill High School will be fully remote tomorrow…”

“Our IT team has worked diligently all weekend on recovery efforts, however despite their long hours we hit a snag and are not able to have internet access available in our schools tomorrow as hoped. The lack of internet access will impact synchronous learning across the school district,” Marotta explained.

Students in grades pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, 1 through 6 or attending Greenleaf Academy or TEACH program at Bartlett School continue in-person learning unless they are fully enrolled in the Remote Learning Academy. Students in grades 7 and 8, Cohorts A and C, also return in person, while Cohorts B and D remain remote. Cohort D is the Remote Learning Academy.

All of Haverhill High School remains remote.

Meanwhile, Haverhill Education Association President Anthony J. Parolisi told WHAV educators have tentatively reached agreement with the School Committee for their return.

“We were able to identify where there were some things we can improve and, in terms of the MOU (memorandum of understanding), make sure that people still felt protected,” he said.

Union members vote to ratify the agreement tomorrow at 6 p.m. One of the conditions preserves educators’ abilities to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact of someone infected with COVID-19. Parolisi explained why they are returning before signing off on the pact.

“We always knew that a transition to full, in-person return was coming and, over the last couple of weeks and months, our major concern was that we were moving too quickly and logistically we weren’t ready to bring more bodies into the building,” Parolisi said.

The school administration said fully in-person learners and fully remote learners should experience minimal impact. Marotta said a limited number of internet hotspots allow some access to “vital resources.”

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