Sisters and Brothers,
This evening, we have our first true opportunity, along with the rest of our community, to provide input to the School Committee on the Superintendent’s proposed reopening plans. While it is true that some of our members did participate in some aspects that led to Dr. Marotta’s proposal, the fact is that many disciplines and populations were not represented in these working groups, and the Association did not appoint any of the members who did participate. The District had been informed well in advance that the work of these committees did not constitute bargaining or represent the views of the Association. Since we submitted our demand to bargain, the District continued to develop its plans without a single bargaining session.
During the meeting, we should expect to hear a wide variety of opinions from the public and from the School Committee about the Superintendent’s plans and why we should start the school year by immediately putting at least some students (and most educators) into our school buildings. While most of those calling for a hybrid start have honorable intentions, including some of our own members, others may not be so kind. There may even be some pretty harsh words about educators and our call to start remotely until our buildings are safe for everyone. Some people will try to misinterpret or distort our intentions, but our position is clear: Haverhill educators want to return to their classrooms, but only when it’s safe.
Tonight, let’s stand united and reject the calls to rush us back into buildings before we’ve even been given the information we requested about their current status with a chorus of Solidarity. Our platform calls for a phased-in return based on guaranteeing safe buildings for all. Once safe, they will reopen based on public health benchmarks to be determined by a Joint Stakeholder Coronavirus Response Team using the latest scientific research and guidance from trusted health officials.
Thank you to everyone who has registered for public comment in support of our platform and ensuring the safety of our educators, their families, and of the students and our community. The link to join should be sent to you soon, but if you don’t receive it by 6pm, you should reach out to the School Committee (email@example.com) for access.
Whether you are planning to speak tonight or not, our Action Team asks that you take up their call to email the School Committee with the same basic message: “I am a Haverhill educator and a member of the Haverhill Education Association. I support my union’s reopening platform.”
The Haverhill School Committee meets tonight at 7pm. You can listen to the meeting live on WHAV 97.9 and whav.net or watch it on Haverhill Community Television (XFinity channel 9, streaming at http://hcmedia.tv/9).
Anthony J. Parolisi
Haverhill Education Association