New Hampshire has released guidance for how schools should approach safely reopening in the fall, Gov. Chris Sununu announced on Tuesday.
The guidance does not prescribe an overarching requirement for schools to reopen in the state and instead gives districts and teachers the ability to design models that work for their specific situations. The guidance noted the wide disparities between rural and urban and suburban areas of the schools in the state.
Sununu said the goal was to keep things “flexible so they can open today,” but then to “remain dynamic as they go through the fall semester.”
“A safe return to school in September 2020 is the primary goal, with accommodations for individuals, students and educators, who due to underlying health concerns are not able to return to in person learning,” the document states. “This guidance is dynamic and as circumstances and data change, it may require updating.”
Here are some of the details in the reopening guidance:
- Masks: Face coverings will not be mandated “in every aspect of the school,” the governor said, but will be encouraged when social distancing can’t be accomplished. Visitors — including parents dropping things off — will be mandated to wear masks.
- Social distancing: The guidelines discuss how to set up classrooms, spacing desks out between 3 and 6 feet.
- Plannings: The guidelines call for developing screening procedures for staff, students and visitors and giving teachers more development days to update their contingency plans for if anyone in the school system is diagnosed with Covid.
“We feel confident all students can come back in a safe, productive manner,” Sununu said.
The guidelines were developed by a task force put together earlier this year that consisted of parents, teachers, administrators and students and surveyed districts across the state, Sununu said.