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N.H. School Reopening Task Force Sends Recommendations To Gov. Sununu

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Michael Brindley / NHPR
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A task force convened by the New Hampshire Department of Education to determine how schools should re-open in the fall has sent their final recommendations to Gov. Sununu.

The recommendations emphasize the need to prepare for multiple scenarios next year – including in-person instruction with new safety guidelines, continued remote learning, and the option many states are considering: a hybrid model of remote and in-person instruction.

The task force says schools should establish a “baseline for student learning” – likely an assessment - when students return, and “develop instruction plans” in response to that baseline data.

It also recommends that districts modify their transportation plans, given a likely shortage of bus drivers and PPE if districts were to opt for some in-person instruction.

The recommendations leave many of the final decisions - such as how to conduct screenings of staff and students, how to mandate the use of PPE, and whether to open schools back up - to individual districts.

In a press release on Monday, the NEA-NH, the state’s largest teachers’ union, slammed DOE Commissioner Frank Edelblut for not including more teachers on the task force. It said that 75% of its surveyed members were not comfortable returning to the classroom without a vaccine or effective treatment, and that 95% believed a hybrid model of remote and in-person instruction would change their working conditions and potentially violate their contract.

Governor Sununu is expected to give official guidance to districts by mid-July.