Coronavirus in NH: Schools Closed in Favor of Remote Learning, 13 Cases Reported

Gov. Sununu said he would sign several measures to help parents stay home with their children or provide child care

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All of New Hampshire's public K-12 schools are being closed for at least the next three weeks as Gov. Chris Sununu on Sunday ordered classes to move to remote learning amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The order suspends in-person classes Monday through Friday, April 3, according to an order from Sununu. Schools have until Monday, March 23, to develop and implement a remote learning plan.

Sununu said the state doesn't take the decision to keep children out of their schools lightly and announced that he would sign several measures to help parents stay home with them or provide child care.

The state now has 13 cases of the new coronavirus, public health officials said at a news conference Sunday. That's nearly twice the seven cases New Hampshire had previously reported.

The state epidemiologist, Benjamin Chan, said he expects that number to grow. He urged people not to stockpile food and supplies, saying that the supply chain is in place.

"Our actions today are about stretching this situation out," he said, referring to the public health notion of slowing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak through social distancing so hospitals aren't overrun with sick patients.

Joining Sununu at the news conference along with Chan were Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette.

New Hampshire’s total number of coronavirus cases stood at seven on Friday, when Sununu declared a state of emergency over the spread of the virus.

About 200 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, around New England, though that number is expected to rise in the coming weeks.

No one in New England has died of the disease, but 61 people around the United States have. Health authorities nationwide have confirmed more than 3,000 cases as of Sunday.

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Supermarkets across New England and the U.S. are seeking to restock and fulfill online orders as essential items like toilet paper and canned goods fly off the shelves.
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