Haverhill Schools Adopt Indoor and Outdoor Recess Policy to Apply to all Buildings

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Haverhill Public Schools has issued a “Weather Watch Guide” to make recess policies consistent from building to building.

Committee Vice Chair Toni Sapienza-Donais asked the administration last week to clarify school policy regarding when recess is held out of doors and when students must stay inside. Superintendent Margaret Marotta acknowledged there has been confusion in the post-COVID-19 era.

“We have, as a group, decided if there is rain falling, we will not be going out. If there is no rain falling, we will be going out unless there is either thunder and lightning in the distance or severe weather warnings. Other than that, we will be going out for recess,” she said.

Because of earlier confusion, Marotta said she met with school principals to get everyone on the same page. She said the schools now use a Weather Watch Guide to make the rules uniform. As posted online, the administration reports it prefers students to take recess outside. If it is actually raining or if temperatures fall into the caution or dangerous zones, recess takes place inside or, depending on the condition of the grounds, may take place on the hard top.

The Committee also took up the policy of public use of school playgrounds.

Committee member Gail M. Sullivan said the Policy Subcommittee found current rules adequate and straight-forward as written.

“Playgrounds on school grounds shall be open to the public from dawn until dusk, seven days per week, unless school is in session or a school activity is taking place on the playground,” she summarized.

Sullivan said the policy does not apply to other activity areas on school property, such as the outdoor track at Haverhill High School.

Members agreed unanimously to keep the policy.

In a separate matter, Haverhill Public Schools is sending a formal note of thanks to a local pediatrician’s office for donating 660 backpacks for this year’s incoming kindergarten students.

As WHAV first reported Aug. 24, Children’s Health Care of Haverhill and Newburyport made the donation in time for the start of school.  School Committee member Richard J. Rosa presented details at a recent meeting.

“Children’s Health Care is celebrating 50 years in business and, as part of their ‘50 Years of Caring campaign,’ they donated 660 brand new L.L. Bean backpacks to all our kindergarten students,” he said.

On the recommendation of Mayor James J. Fiorentini, the Committee agreed unanimously to have Superintendent Margaret Marotta send a letter of gratitude.

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