HAVERHILL — Superintendent Maureen Lynch announces that Whittier Tech students will be eating lunch at home when the school year starts next week as a result of a rise in local cases of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released updated data on COVID-19 cases for each town and city statewide. The City of Haverhill is currently coded as a “yellow” municipality on the state COVID-19 case map and there have been 63 positive cases over the past two weeks, indicating a rise in community spread.
In response to the latest public health data issued by the state, Whittier’s School Committee voted last night to have students eat lunch at home. This fall, Whittier Tech will follow a hybrid learning plan through which students will be split up into Cohort A or Cohort B. Cohort A will attend school in-person Tuesdays and Thursdays and Cohort B will attend school in-person Wednesdays and Fridays. Initially, it was planned that students would eat lunch in the cafeteria, lobby or outdoors, weather permitting. Students eating in the cafeteria would have eaten in socially distanced desks and grouped by their cohorts. To learn more about the district’s remote learning plan, click here.
“Based on the state’s data on recent local COVID-19 case numbers and the “yellow” designation of the City of Haverhill, we are proceeding with caution and will continue closely monitoring local and state public health data to make decisions to promote the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff,” Superintendent Lynch said.
All students at Whittier Tech will receive free breakfast and lunch meals through the month of December. The free meals have been made possible by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is allowing summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals amid the challenges of COVID-19. This includes serving meals outside of otherwise required group settings and meal times and allowing parents and guardians to pick up meals for children and teens. To learn more. click here.
During in-person learning days, students will receive breakfast upon entry to the building and will eat breakfast in their first period classroom. At the end of the day, students will receive a bagged lunch when they leave the building. Students will pick up additional packaged meals for remote learning days when they leave the building after in-person learning as well.
Students, and the parents/guardians of those students, participating in fully remote learning with questions regarding meals can contact Whittier Tech’s Food Service Manager at 978-373-4101 x 244.
Meals will be individually packaged and pre-prepared by cafeteria staff.
At the end of in-person learning days, students will exit the building on a staggered schedule from 12:40-1:15 p.m., a half hour earlier than originally planned this fall.
The decision to have students eat lunch at home will be re-evaluated by the District every two weeks. Any changes to the decision will be shared with all stakeholders promptly.