Public health officials in New Hampshire have unveiled a brand new tool designed to help school districts determine when to implement mask mandates when students return from summer break.
The state doesn't have a blanket mask mandate, and Gov. Chris Sununu has repeatedly said there are no plans to implement one. That leaves the decision over masks to individual school districts.
The chart, called a decision matrix, accounts for various situations, including COVID-19 transmission risks and outbreaks.
It recommends that school districts implement mask mandates wherever there is a "substantial" transmission risk or wherever there are multiple clusters or large outbreaks in a school.
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"It's really important that we do the best we can to stop transmission, and it's uncomfortable doing masks, but I think it's healthier for the kids to be in the schools," said Allison Moskow of Hopkinton.
Sununu, a Republican, reiterated at a news conference on Thursday that he prefers to allow each community to make its own decisions regarding masks.
"Listen to the individuals," he said. "This can't be a top-down, government one-size-fits-all. Washington tries that. They stink at it."
As of Thursday afternoon, nearly every county in the state was in the red, meaning that the transmission risk was high virtually everywhere.