Update: Police Chief Advises Whittier Tech to Keep Supplies for School Reopening; Finds Supplier

Although Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School has pulled together certain supplies for the Haverhill Police Department, the city’s police chief has asked the school to keep the material for when classes resume. Whittier Tech collected the material after coming under fire from Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro for sending medical and safety supplies out of town. DeNaro said his department has since identified another supplier. “We were able to secure supplies on our own…and recommending the school keep their products on hand should school reopen May 5,” DeNaro said. DeNaro said Tuesday he was disappointed masks, gowns and other protective items were donated to a Lawrence-based, nonprofit health organization when Haverhill police and fire also have needs.

Greater Lawrence Tech Donates Food, Medical Supplies to Pantries, Health Center

Greater Lawrence Technical School has donated more than 1,400 pounds of food to Neighbors in Need and thousands of pieces of medical supplies to area health care facilities since the school closed due to the novel coronavirus earlier this month. School Superintendent John Lavoie said Neighbors in Need provides food to people in need throughout the Greater Lawrence area through 13 food pantries. “The COVID-19 crisis has changed so much in recent weeks in our communities, and doing what we can to support each other is critical,” Lavoie said. “When we realized we had food that could be donated to those at Neighbors in Need, and medical supplies that could help our health care professionals protect themselves and their patients, we took immediate action.”

Greater Lawrence Tech donated 5,000 gloves, 100 Tyvex suits, 400 isolation gowns, 15 boxes of sterile gloves, 100 face shields, 20 respirator masks, 100 N95 masks and cases of medical cleaning wipes to the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center last Friday cases of anti-bacterial wipes and safety goggles to Lawrence General Hospital on Tuesday. “Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and Greater Lawrence Technical School have been strong community partners for many years, and the Health Center currently operates a school-based health center site at the school.

Updated: Gov. Baker Orders Schools to Remain Closed Through May 4; Says Not ‘Extended Vacation’

Schools and non-emergency child care centers in Massachusetts will now be closed until at least May 4 under a new order Gov. Charlie Baker signed Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, Baker said, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will work to produce in-home programming for students. Previously, schools had been ordered closed until at least April 6. “This will allow school districts to provide the best possible opportunities for remote learning to all students,” Baker said. He added, “This is not an extended school vacation.”

Haverhill school Superintendent Margaret Marotta said her department had been preparing for such an order even though “This is new to all of us.” She said the administration continues to assess whether Haverhill families have access to the technology they need for children to learn at home.

Following No Confidence Vote, Superintendent Places Bradford Principal on Leave; Union Approves

Bradford Elementary School Principal Louise Perry is out and is expected to be replaced in the interim by another administrator. Questions about the status of Perry—the subject of a no-confidence vote on the eve of February school vacation—came when it became apparent Assistant Principal Nicole McGrain was signing all communications from the school. Haverhill school Superintendent Margaret Marotta confirmed Perry is on leave in an email to School Committee members early this afternoon. “At this point in time, Ms. Perry is on leave and it is not anticipated that she will return to Bradford School. Ms. Cathy Giles, who has been working as an additional administrator at the school for the month of March, is expected to serve as interim principal once school resumes,” Marotta wrote.

Whittier Tech Donates Medical Masks, Gloves, Gowns and More to Support Health Center

With the school closed, but an enormous community need, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School donated medical supplies Monday to Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. Whittier Superintendent Maureen Lynch said the medical supplies are best given to the health center that has primary care services in Methuen and Lawrence in light of the evolving novel coronavirus situation. “Medical professionals need masks, gloves and gowns to protect themselves and their patients from this virus, and fortunately we had some of those supplies in our facility and were able to donate to support the work the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center is doing for our community,” Lynch said, adding, “It’s important, as our communities address this evolving public health issue, that we all do what we can to help.”

Whittier Tech is closed until at least Tuesday, April 7. While the school was closed last week, administrators and educators collected 1,300 masks, more than 200 isolation gowns, more than 1,000 gloves and approximately 100 safety glasses for donation to Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. The supplies came from the school's medical assisting, health assisting, dental assisting, auto body/collision repair, masonry, carpentry and science programs.

Richard Napolitano, senior vice president and external relations/chief development officer at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, said the Center, its staff and clinicians are most grateful for the generous and thoughtful donation of personal protective equipment.

Northern Essex Community College Turns to Remote Teaching and Learning Prep Week

Northern Essex Community College is having remote classes through at least March 29. During Remote Teaching and Learning Prep Week, face-to-face classes and the face-to-face portion of hybrid classes will not meet. Fully online classes continue as normal. Courses offered through Corporate and Community Education will take place as scheduled. During Prep Week, all administrative offices remain open and available.

Haverhill School Nurse Tests Positive for COVID-19, Has Mild Symptoms and Resting

Haverhill’s school nurse reported today she has tested positive for COVID-19, but has only mild symptoms and is resting at home. A School Department statement released tonight reported, Director of Health and Nursing Services Katie Vozeolas began to feel ill this past Tuesday, March 17, left work immediately and has been home since. Officials stressed Vozeolas was not considered contagious when students were still in school last week. “We thank Katie for her bravery in coming forward to share this information in such a transparent manner, the forthright public sharing of the details of her illness provides comfort to those who have been in contact with her during the previous week,” said the statement signed by from school Superintendent Margaret Marotta and school pediatrician Dr. John L. Maddox. Vozeolas answered questions during a live WHAV interview Tuesday morning.

Northern Essex Community College to Create its Own Police Department; Looking for Captain

Northern Essex Community College, following a security assessment completed last fall, is creating its own police department. The college becomes the 13th community college in Massachusetts to have armed police officers on campus and will begin by hiring a captain to lead its hybrid force of police officers and security guards in both Haverhill and Lawrence. “We are always monitoring industry standards and recognized that many community colleges are moving toward having their own campus police and knew it was time to review our own department and policies,” the college wrote in response to a WHAV inquiry. College trustees recently voted “to approve arming the police officers that work for the Northern Essex Community College Public Safety Department.” The decision came after an assessment was completed by college’s Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police Deborah Crafts. She is a certified police officer who holds a master’s from Bentley University.