Sisters and Brothers,
Late yesterday afternoon, I was alerted by members at JG Whittier who had been informed that a student who attended school on Monday developed symptoms on Tuesday and has tested positive for Covid-19. As soon as I was notified I reached out to the administration for details. Dr. Marotta informed me via email that, based on the date of onset of symptoms, the student was “considered potentially contagious” on Monday. The District determined that “none [of the teachers] meet the criteria as close contact of the student” according to the Haverhill Department of Public Health. Thankfully, administrators did speak with potential close contacts at the school and at least one educator was “fast-tracked” to a rapid test site in Lawrence and has, thankfully, received a negative result.
At the same time, educators at Consentino were also being alerted that one of their students who was in school on Monday but has remained asymptomatic, also tested positive for Covid-19. With regard to this student, Dr. Marotta said, “according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health an asymptomatic person with a positive COVID test is considered contagious for the forty-eight-hour period before the test was administered. Thus, our staff and students in contact with this child on Monday are not considered to be close contacts and do not need to test, quarantine, or isolate.”
The District has a moral obligation to inform any staff member who may have had any contact with a potentially infectious student or colleague of the possible exposure so that they may make an informed decision as to whether or not they should be tested for Covid-19. If you feel that you may have been in contact with one of these students, or if you are in contact with someone who laters proves to have been infected with the coronavirus, please be sure to inform your principal as soon as possible so that the administration can connect you with the public health officials to determine what steps may or may not be necessary for you to take. Let your building representative know right away if you feel you are being improperly denied information or support to make a determination on your own as to whether or not you have have been at risk. Additionally, all members are encourage to take advantage of any free testing opportunities which may be available to you at any time, such as the Massachusetts “Stop the Spread” testing sites which are free to Massachusetts residents. The nearest sites to Haverhill are in Lawrence and Methuen. For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread.
I want to reiterate to our members how important it is to be vigilant with your own safety precautions such as wearing a mask when inside the building, maintaining social distancing, and most importantly modeling and reinforcing those behaviors with our students. All of us must not only do our own part, but we must enforce these expectations with our students in order to better protect the health and safety of everyone. If you have students who are not adhering to the protocols that have been put in place, you must alert your administration and document the violation either by email or whatever referral system your building may currently have in place.
Thank you for all that you do, have a great weekend, and stay safe.