By Paula Ebben

HAVERHILL (CBS) – Students in Haverhill are going to have a different experience this fall. With the nation still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the School Committee in Haverhill decided on the hybrid-model of learning for public schools, where most children will attend classes in school two days per week and learn remotely from home the other three days. Students also have the option to do all their learning remotely.

Haverhill Mayor Jim Fiorentini feels they have taken the right measures.

“We’re doing what we need to do to make sure our kids are safe and our teachers are safe,” said Fiorentini. “They’re going through every single school, making certain that every window works, that there’s screens on every window, every HVAC system is updated, that the filters have been changed, that the coils have been cleaned, and that every single one of them works.”

A socially-distanced classroom in Haverhill. (WBZ-TV)

Along with regular checks, changes are being made to the layouts of rooms in the schools to ensure social distancing, adding new water fountains, putting markings on the floors and even changing the way the lunchroom works.

Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Marotta said the constantly-changing landscape of schooling for this year has been a lot of work for school officials.

“There’s a whole new set of rules that we have to abide by,” Marotta said. “They’re coming in fast and furious as we sort of enter the gates of the new school year.”

Haverhill students will only be in the classroom for part of the time as they decided on a hybrid-learning plan. It’s a decision that had a lot of factors that went into it.

“We also have to look at the dangers of kids not going to school,” said Mayor Fiorentini. “They’d be deprived of an education, number one. And number two, the tremendous mental health dangers of kids staying home. So we had to balance all of that in coming up with our plan.”

Paula Ebben

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