New Hampshire

NH Schools' Fall Reopening Plan: What You Need to Know

Among the recommendations in the 54-page plan is for desks to be placed 3-6 feet apart and daily screening of students, staff and visitors

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Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday announced guidance for how New Hampshire public schools should reopen this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sununu released the guidance during a news conference and said the document, which lets schools make decisions for themselves, will be a "road map for school districts across the state to reopen safely."

"We all share a goal in getting our kids back to school safely and believe this guidance allows schools to open, but we know each school district will have a different path forward," Sununu said. "Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, this is a guide that values local control, and helps each school district make the best decision for their students and teachers."

Among the highlights of the 54-page recommended plan is for desks to be placed 3-6 feet apart and daily screening of students, staff and visitors. Masks won't be mandated for students when seated in the classroom but they are recommended, according to the guidance.

The guidance also encourages schools to develop plans for both in-person and remote learning for those who choose not to return for health or safety reasons.

"Schools should be prepared to accommodate students and staff with underlying health risks, and have a robust response plan in place if coronavirus is detected. Nothing can ever eliminate all risk, but we must balance that risk with the need to educate New Hampshire children," New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said in a statement.

The guidance was created with the help of teachers, parents, school leaders and community members, Sununu said. They provided input to the School Transition Reopening and Redesign Taskforce.

During the news conference, the governor also announced the launch of the state's COVID Response Recruitment Portal, which will connect job-seekers with employers across the Granite State.

"There's already 1,000 open jobs there now," Sununu said.

While the state continues to go through 2-3 million masks per month during the pandemic, the governor said New Hampshire is building a two-month stockpile of personal protective equipment.

As of Tuesday, there was one new death reported in the Granite State as a result of the novel coronavirus. The death toll stands at 390, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. There were 23 new positive cases reported Tuesday for a total of 6,091 cases, according to health officials.

Meanwhile, a judge ruled Monday that Nashua's face-covering ordinance and Sununu's declaration of a state of emergency will stand while they're being challenged in court.

Nashua resident Andrew Cooper had filed a request for a preliminary injunction as part of his lawsuit seeing to end Sununu's emergency declaration and the city's rules requiring members of the public to wear face masks when entering any business, work site or government building.

He argued that Sununu lacked the authority to make the declaration because "there is no 'emergency' in New Hampshire," a claim that Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn said defied common sense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NBC/Associated Press
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