Sisters and Brothers,
Once again, Haverhill has reached a new high percent positivity rate of 9.65% with an average daily incidence of 87.2 over the past two weeks (up from 7.21% and 58.3, respectively). Every educator on the Joint Stakeholder Coronavirus Response Team spoke passionately on behalf of Cohort C educators, especially those who are most at risk of being infected by their students because they work in the substantially separate special education programs with our high-needs students and who are most at risk of being infected by their students. Though several members of the JSCRT joined the educators in the group in supporting a recommendation to move all students and educators to remote learning, the group did not reach a consensus on this issue, being evenly divided.
I am pleased that the School Committee saw the wisdom in not returning to the full hybrid model as they approved in November, but incredibly disappointed to report that Cohort C students and their educators (excluding those at HHS due to building condition issues) are still being required to place themselves and their families at risk by traveling to and learning and working in the buildings. While nearly every member of the School Committee was careful to provide what they deemed an ample amount of lip service to the safety concerns our Union siblings have, only Toni Donais and Maura Ryan found the courage to vote in favor of the safest possible option for all.
I have received a number of emails and messages from educators across the district expressing concern with how the School Committee is managing our safety during this second surge of Covid-19 infections – especially from those educators most affected by the Commitee’s decision to continue having Cohort C students learning in the building. Many are asking what actions we can take as a union to ensure the safety of themselves, their colleagues, and their students.
This tells me that it’s time to regroup, reassess our common concerns and demands, and determine what collective actions we can take as a union to achieve them.
The Action Team is meeting this coming Monday, December 14th, at 4:30. If you believe it’s time for collective action please email Action Team Chair Barry Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive the link to the meeting. All members are welcome.
Anthony J. Parolisi