Haverhill Public School Covid Letter From Dr. Marotta

September 9, 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

COVID brings with it many feelings of anxiety and stress. I do believe that there are many things we can do individually and as a group to calm our nerves. If everyone follows the basic protocols of mitigation and prevention, we will significantly reduce or even prevent COVID transmission in our schools and community. We cannot do this alone. We respectfully request all parents and guardians partner with us and that as a community we make this a priority.

We ask parents and guardians to share any information you have about your child or someone in your home testing positive for COVID – 19. Please do not send children to school who are sick, who have been identified as a close contact, or who are suspected of being positive. We know it can be a hardship for working parents to keep a child home but it is a necessity. The work of contact tracing is long. The moment the student crosses our threshold the contact tracing begins when a child is positive. It is exhausting work. Children who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms: fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell,  muscle aches or body aches, should not attend school. We ask parents to please alert your school if your child has symptoms,  if your child may have been or is known to have been exposed to someone suspected or confirmed to be positive for COVID 19.

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, visit vaxfinder.mass.gov for vaccination information. 

Travel information – From Mass.gov

For recommendations related to travel, please consult the CDC pages below:

 Additional Information Shared in our August 2021 HPS Newsletter

Testing

We will again be offering routine COVID Safety check testing weekly in our schools. This is a quick and easy lower nasal swab, which will be sent out as a group for testing. If the sample tests positive, individuals will be tested separately to determine if there is a positive case of COVID 19. By testing students and staff weekly, including those who are unvaccinated and vaccinated, we will increase the likelihood of preventing spread especially from individuals who are asymptomatic.

Additionally, Haverhill will be participating in a new program from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, called “Test and Stay”. If an individual in school, who is unvaccinated, and is considered a school close contact, then the individual may be eligible to continue to come to school during their quarantine period and be tested at school using the Abbott Binax Antigen test daily for 5 days in school.

Parent permission will be required and information on providing permission for routine COVID Safety check testing, and the use of the Abbott Binax test. Click here for further information..

 COVID Management

Our schools will maintain a number of mitigation measures to keep students and staff safe. These include masking (see below), frequent hand hygiene and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (more information below), physical distancing whenever possible and utilization of outdoor spaces, monitored ventilation and airflow, cleaning and disinfection protocols to name a few.

Masking

Consistent with the MASS DESE mandate and CDC’s current guidance, all Haverhill Public Schools students and staff—vaccinated and unvaccinated—are required to wear well-fitting masks when they return to school in the fall.  Effective August 2, 2021, all students, staff, and visitors—regardless of vaccination status—must wear masks indoors while in any Haverhill Public Schools facilities. Face-masks are not required: (1) when outside; or (2) when an individual works alone or in a segregated space (e.g., cubicle) (3) when socially distanced and eating.  If you find that your child has a tendency to soil the mask or it becomes very moist, extra masks in the backpack are suggested. Disposable 2 ply masks will be available if a child or staff member forgets a mask, it becomes soiled, or damaged. Per Federal law, all individuals must mask when on school buses regardless of vaccine status.

Please know that above all else, it is our goal this school year to keep our schools open and filled with happy, healthy students and staff. We want families to be able to confidentially return to their pre-pandemic routines and rituals. We know that in order for this to happen we will need to work together as a community of adults dedicated to the well-being of our children. I thank each of you for supporting our Haverhill Public Schools in these most difficult of times. 

Sincerely,

 Margaret Marotta Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools