New Hampshire moves to limit remote school during pandemic
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A proposed rule that would severely limit remote instruction options for schools won’t go before the state Board of Education until November, but state officials already are advising districts to follow it.
School districts currently can shift to fully remote or hybrid instruction for all students due to COVID-19 outbreaks. But under an administrative rule proposed by the Department of Education, schools would be required to provide in-person instruction five days per week except in cases of inclement weather or when a parent requests remote learning for an individual student.
In an email to school leaders last month, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut instructed schools on how to comply with what he called the “recently advanced” rules, without describing the current rules. Schools are permitted to offer remote instruction to individual students who have contracted COVID-19, are required to quarantine because a household contact is infected or have other family circumstances that prevent in-person attendance, he said.
“I think there’s a little bit of a shift that’s taking place, because we’re not in the same circumstances we found ourselves in last year, so people have to shift their mindsets,” he said in a phone interview this week.
The Manchester School District on Wednesday temporarily moved three elementary school classes to remote status for three school days because of COVID-19 clusters.
Manchester School District announced Wednesday that COVID-19 clusters had been identified at two city elementary schools. Out of an abundance of caution, the affected classes have been temporarily moved to remote status, officials said.
“It should go without saying that it’s our strong preference to have all students learning in person,” Superintendent John Goldhardt said in a statement. “However, in moving the affected groups to remote status, we are making our best effort to ensure we keep as many students in person as possible.”
In other coronavirus developments:
More than 120,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 421 cases announced Friday. No new deaths were announced, keeping the total at 1,481.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 446 new cases per day on Sept. 15 to 508 new cases per day on Sept. 29.