Holiday Message from Dr. Marotta
Dear Haverhill Public Schools Friends and Families,
Traditionally as the year draws to an end, I pause and reflect on our schools’ greatest highlights and accomplishments throughout the year. However, as I sit today, I am reminded that nothing this year has been traditional. There have been tremendous accomplishments: the overnight transitioning to one-to-one technology and on-line learning; the creation of a safety net for students struggling with food insecurity, attendance, and mental health; holding a socially distanced in-person graduation; and providing in-person instruction for most of the fall. There have also been tremendous disappointments: loss of prom and moving-on events; limited sports seasons; and far too many quarantining and sick loved ones.
While it is easy to dwell on our losses, in this season of joy I want to recognize and express gratitude for our hard-working staff and family members who have selflessly put other parts of their lives on hold to support learning during these difficult times. COVID-19 has challenged us to work together for better outcomes; providing all of us with an opportunity to find creative ways to reconnect, recharge and just enjoy the special people in our lives.
I urge you all to please take time to take care of yourselves and others. Even in a normal school year, the pressures of the holiday season can cause feelings of isolation, without enough time to connect, socialize, and support others as we may intend. For some, this period may bring on added feelings of stress and anxiety related to family, finances, and commitments. I am so thankful that our schools, even in our current state of Remote Learning, are still brimming with people dedicated to creating space for all students and families to belong. It is especially during this time of year when we need to look to each other for support, and make an extra effort to look out for one another.
I want to thank those in our community who have reimagined public education over the last nine months. It has not been easy, and it has involved tremendous discussion, planning and compromise. Our Joint Coronavirus Response Team (JCVRT) continues to meet weekly to review state, local, and school level COVID 19 data and its impact on our school community. The JCVRT stakeholders include teachers, administrators, family members, medical professionals and school-committee members. Our discussions are lively and respectful. Our goal is keep a watchful eye on the ever-changing data so that we can be informed and inform others. I want to offer my sincerest thanks to everyone on this team for continuing to dedicate yourself to this effort. There is no straight path forward, no easy answer, the data is ever changing and the magnitude of the task is awe inspiring. As a city we currently remain in RED, seeing some of our highest new cases and positivity rates ever. To our parents and staff members, I want to assure you that during this remote learning phase, we continue to work and improve upon all facets of our reentry plan which includes the school HVAC and heating systems. The safety and security of our students and staff is my number one priority and when local conditions permit, we will be ready to welcome everyone back and work to remain open
Return from Break
We understand this time continues to be difficult for students, staff members, families, and our community at large. I want to acknowledge the feedback we are receiving from many urging a slow and cautious roll-out of the return to in-person learning, while simultaneously many others cite rising student mental health needs and just as strongly advocate for a more immediate return to school.
Our next School Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday December 29,2020 at 7 PM. At that time, the Committee will discuss our continually changing health data and review our plans for return to school following the break. Currently our learning plan as of Monday January 4,2020 is:
• Grades K – 5 Cohort A & B In-person Hybrid Learning Model
• Grades 6 – 12 Cohort A & B Remote Learning
• Grades K- 8 (Greenleaf & Teach) Cohort C Return to In-person learning 4 days per week
• High School Cohort C Remote Learning with Services Only In-person
Please note this plan is subject to change given the constantly shifting data. In an effort to be transparent and keep the public informed, we will continue to update our COVID 19 Dashboard on a weekly basis, Click here for the Covid 19 Dashboard. You can send your feedback to email@example.com. You can view recordings of recent school committee meetings on HC Media at http://haverhillcommunitytv.org/category/government/school-committee. The next School Committee meeting will again discuss and review information related to our return to in-person learning. The meeting held on Tuesday December 29, 2020 can be viewed at 7:00 p.m. on HC Media Channel 99. I will keep you up to date on any changes in learning models following that meeting.
As we all do our best to adhere to all health and safety precautions through the winter, we will see a better 2021 for our community and our schools. However, you choose to spend this unusual holiday season, HPS wishes you and your loved ones a safe, restful, healthy and happy holiday. Here’s to the new year and the joys and promise that it brings.
I thank you all for your continued support during this time.
Superintendent of Schools