‘Layered Mitigation’ Marks Haverhill Schools’ Move to ‘Mask Choice’ Beginning Next Week

HVAC work at Haverhill Public Schools in 2020. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill schools are reassuring parents it is using “layered mitigation strategies” to keep students and staff safe as public schools move to “mask choice” a week from today

As WHAV previously reported, the Haverhill School Committee voted Feb. 10 to support Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to lift mandated masking as of Feb. 28. Following suit, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education gave cities and towns the option to keep local mandates in place.

“Our layered mitigation strategies include millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades to our HVAC systems, air-scrubbers in rooms without windows, dramatically increased nursing and custodial staffing, ongoing social distancing of students to the extent possible in our buildings and free at-home COVID testing kits for those interested,” wrote Superintendent Margaret Marotta in emails to families.

Marotta explained “mask Choice means that we will respect the rights of individual students and staff to determine whether to mask in school or not.” She noted, however, state and federal rules still require masks be worn by students and staff returning from five-day quarantines following a positive COVID-19 test and monitor symptoms for 10 days after exposure, in all school health offices and while riding on school buses. In these instances, masks are not required when eating, drinking or outside.

Facial coverings are “strongly recommended,” she added, for those who are unvaccinated.

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