Education | New Hampshire Public Radio

Education

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

As coronavirus cases surge, a growing number of school districts in New Hampshire are closing their doors and offering mostly virtual instruction instead of in-person classes. But Gov. Chris Sununu and state health officials are urging schools to stay open, saying virus transmission in schools is limited and the payoff of in-person learning is high.

NHPR’s education reporter Sara Gibson has been following this and spoke with All Things Considered host Emily Quirk.

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Kids in school have had to take precautions to protect them from COVID-19, and that includes during gym class.

New Hampshire's physical education teachers have made efforts to keep kids physically distant, and some have gotten creative with videos and games to keep kids active as they learn remotely.

Credit Courtesy of Cheryl Gaffney

Classrooms in New Hampshire have changed dramatically to reopen safely in the pandemic, and some of the biggest changes are in music class. Gone are the days of belting out songs shoulder to shoulder, sharing music stands, and swapping instruments. Instead, as NHPR’s Sarah Gibson reports, some schools are following new protocols to bring music back but keep COVID-19 risk low.


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The Nashua School District is responding to pressure from parents and some school board members to hasten reopening plans after weeks of being almost entirely remote.

At a school board meeting on Tuesday night, Superintendent Jahmal Mosley presented the district’s metrics for moving between remote, hybrid, and in-person models. With transmission levels of COVID-19 now among some of the highest in the state, Mosley said Nashua meets the state's criteria for staying fully remote or hybrid.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in the latest case over whether the state is meeting its constitutional obligation to pay for an adequate education.

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A coronavirus outbreak among students at Windham High School will force that school to remain remote for at least the next week.

The school was supposed to reopen with a hybrid model on Wednesday, but news that sixteen students had tested positive for COVID-19 prompted the school to change its plans last minute and reopen with a remote model.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

A family in Croydon is suing the New Hampshire Department of Education, alleging that restricting the use of public tuition funds for non-religious schools violates their constitutional rights.

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New Hampshire schools can continue offering meals to all young people under 18 free of charge for the rest of the calendar year.

Schools have had more flexiblity to provide meals and receive reimbursement from the federal government since the USDA issued waivers during remote learning last spring.

Courtesy of Julia Playda

Many high school seniors face a difficult choice right now. Go back to school and risk bringing coronavirus into your home, or take online classes and potentially miss out on major parts of senior year.  

NHPR’s Ava Sasani caught up with three students to find out how they’re approaching school this fall.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A continuación, encuentra las noticias del jueves 27 de agosto. 

Puedes escucharlas haciendo click en el audio o leerlas. 

Una nota: Lo escrito es nuestro guión para nuestras grabaciones. Tenlo en cuenta si ven algunas anotaciones diferentes.

Más personas en New Hampshire enfrentan inseguridad alimentaria durante la pandemia

Grupos de defensa dicen que el problema de la inseguridad alimentaria está incrementando en el estado en medio de la pandemia.  

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

With school just weeks away, some districts are still at odds with teachers' unions over whether to reopen buildings.

Unions across the state are still in the process of  bargaining with districts over how reopening plans affect current contract provisions.

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State health officials say schools should be prepared to send students with even mild symptoms of the coronavirus home, and that rapid testing will be necessary for schools to remain open.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says state public health officials will work hand in hand with school districts to identify positive cases, conduct contact tracing, and notify the public about outbreaks in schools.

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Michael Brindley / NHPR

High schools in New Hampshire are now required to grant credit for alternative programs approved by the state board of education or a local school board. The program, called 'Learn Everywhere,' has been the subject of heated debate for over a year.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

When Nicole Finitsis tuned into a recent virtual school board meeting to learn what the fall might look for her second grade twins, she hoped to get some clarity. But instead, she says she left more confused than ever.

Genevieve Andress for NHPR

Across New Hampshire, parents, teachers and students are getting a first glimpse of what school might look like this fall.

For many, the picture is not as they had hoped. 

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With most New Hampshire schools just a month from reopening, there's one staff member on many people's minds: the school nurse.

Courtesy of Kelly Bresnahan

School districts are facing a lot of unknowns. One of the biggest questions is whether teachers with health concerns have to return to school or if they can work remotely. NHPR’s Sarah Gibson caught up with three teachers in the midst of figuring out how their districts will accommodate them, and whether that will be enough.


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The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association says high school students should be allowed to play sports this fall, though the final decision is up to individual schools.

In guidance issued Thursday, the NHIAA announced it was delaying fall sports practice until Sept. 8 because of the coronavirus. Many high school teams typically start training mid-August.

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The uncertainty over school reopening plans has more parents in New Hampshire exploring the option of homeschooling for the first time.

NHPR file

Gov. Chris Sununu continued a string of summertime vetoes Friday, rejecting bills on renewable energy, the state minimum wage, and education.

The record number of vetoes underscores the partisan and policy clashes that have defined the governor's second term, with Democratic majorities in the Legislature repeatedly passing priority bills, only to have Sununu strike them down with his veto pen.

File Photo, NHPR

The Manchester School District is filing a legal claim against Purdue Pharma for that company's role in the opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma made and marketed the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, which many blame for high rates of opioid addiction. The company has since declared bankruptcy.

The Manchester Board of School Committee voted on Monday to join other school districts across the country who say they should get money from Purdue during its bankruptcy proceedings because of the toll of addiction on public schools.

File Photo, NHPR

A week after Gov. Chris Sununu issued statewide school reopening guidelines, local school boards are fielding safety concerns from teachers and parents as they consider how to reopen amid the pandemic.

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A decision by the New Hampshire Supreme Court on how the state funds public education is expected by the end of the year. The court’s decision will be the latest chapter in the decades-long battle over how the state funds its schools.

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Flickr/Ivan Radic

The N.H. Department of Education says districts need to prepare for a hybrid model of remote and in-person learning for the next school year as the pandemic continues.

The hybrid model is one of a list of draft recommendations a state task force is working on to deliver to Gov. Chris Sununu next week.

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Now that the school year has largely concluded for New Hampshire districts across the state, we turn our attention to what education might look like this fall.

We reflect on how remote learning went, review what we've learned, and discuss what options are available for the upcoming academic year, whether that is more remote learning, a transition back to in-person learning, or a hybrid model of both methods. 

Air date: Tuesday, June 16, 2020. 

Courtesy Karena Czzowitz

Karena Czzowitz, a junior at Manchester School of Technology, is studying to be a Licensed Nursing Assistant. LNA’s are in high demand across New Hampshire, especially in nursing homes.

But with school closures during the coronavirus pandemic, Karena is missing a big part of her education. 

Courtesy of Sandie MacDonald

The New Hampshire Department of Education estimates about a dozen school districts are ending the school year early, due to challenges of remote learning.

Earlier this week, the Monadnock and ConVal school districts became the latest to announce a truncated school year. Rochester, Milford, and the Groveton, Stark and Stratford district are also ending in May.

Some districts eliminated part or all of April break in order to accrue enough class instructional hours to meet state requirements in less time.

Courtesy Gabby Bradt

Before school closure, Dr. Susan Pike’s classrooms were loud, and she prided herself on it.

Students in her high school science classes at the private school St. Thomas Aquinas High School, in Dover, would do calculations together on the white board, bounce between group experiments, and crowd over microscopes to inspect pond scum.

“One of the favorites is the pond water [lessons], where we're looking at different species and then doing things with food webs, and they're all looking at microscopes and finding these disgusting worms,” she says. “And people are talking to each other and sharing their ideas.”

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

School districts in the Monadnock region are continuing to press New Hampshire's highest court to force the state to reevaluate its approach to public education funding.

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