COVID & the Classroom | New Hampshire Public Radio

COVID & the Classroom

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the education system across the country, and in New Hampshire. School leaders are making some of the hardest decisions of their lives, and school staff, students, and families are navigating unknown territory that could have big consequences.

For some, the risks of contracting and spreading the virus are too high to return to school. But closing or limiting access to school can hamper kids’ education, deepen existing inequalities, and wreak havoc on family finances.

NHPR’s “COVID & the Classroom” tells the stories of how Granite Staters are weighing the necessity of employment and school with the realities of the pandemic. We’re here to answer your questions, investigate what’s not working, and share how communities and families are adapting.

Learn more about stories we’re working on and ways to get in touch.

We welcome tips, questions and stories about what you’re experiencing - and we love to see photos showing how learning is different right now. Get in touch at education@nhpr.org.

photo of sign saying this stairwell is up only
Sarah Gibson/NHPR

While nearly all school districts in the state are offering in-person learning or a hybrid model, where students take classes in-person some days and at home others, Gov. Chris Sununu has ordered the remaining districts still in a fully-remote model to switch to at least some in-person learning.

Couresty of Bishop Guertin

Students at Bishop Guertin High School got a chance to speak to an astronaut in outer space on Friday. The project was the culmination of over a year of preparation by students at the Nashua private school to connect, via amateur radio, to the International Space Station.


Courtesy of Demetrios Tsaros

New Hampshire schools are trying to keep track of kids learning remotely. And if students are chronically absent, the school has a few options: Call the parents. Send a school employee to knock on their door.

Or, call the state’s Child Protection Services.

That option is becoming more popular as the pandemic drags on.

Image of an elementary school classroom with a chair up on every other desk
Sarah Gibson / NHPR

It’s school budget season in New Hampshire - and this year, the numbers are more convoluted than usual.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Lawmakers are looking for ways to help school districts address anticipated budget shortfalls resulting from declines in enrollment during the pandemic.

State lawmakers heard hours of testimony Tuesday on a bill that would significantly expand access and funding for school choice in New Hampshire.

The past year has been a living civics lesson for our country: two impeachments, a tense election, a split U.S. Senate, and an insurrection at the Capitol. We talk with two New Hampshire educators about how they’re bringing these realities into their classrooms, and how students are tapping into this moment. 

Looking for lesson plans, activities, and podcast episodes for students? Check out Civics 101. 

Air date: Monday, February 1, 2021. 

Courtesy of Julie Turner

The state's largest school district is resuming in-person learning for the majority of grades on Monday.

The Manchester school board modified its reopening metrics earlier this month, allowing schools to reopen with a hybrid model in spite of substantial community transmission of COVID-19.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

A bill to significantly expand access to school vouchers in New Hampshire is gathering momentum in the Republican-controlled State House.

HB 20 would establish an “education freedom account program,” allowing families whose children have left their local public school to redirect state aid to the educational program of that family’s choice.

Picture of vaccine vial
Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Chris Sununu said New Hampshire schools should reopen, whether fully or in a hybrid system, regardless of whether teachers have been vaccinated.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

A group of mayors and school board chairmen from across New Hampshire are calling on Governor Chris Sununu, Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, and Republican leaders in the State House to help address budget shortfalls for public schools.

Courtesy of Sarah Wong

In the two weeks since a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, many people in New Hampshire have been trying to make sense of the news. That includes kids, who are still learning the basics of government and politics. And it also includes many families and teachers, who say with the right approach, the events of this month can become teaching opportunities.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The New Hampshire Department of Education is partnering with a new online program to offer free tutoring to high school students.

A continuación, encuentra las noticias del lunes 11 de enero.

Escucha haciendo click en el audio o léelas en esta publicación. 

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

Funcionarios reportan nuevos casos y nuevos fallecimientos mientras continúan en primera fase de vacunación

Los funcionarios de salud de New Hampshire reportaron 797 [setecientos noventa y siete] nuevos casos de COVID-19 el domingo.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Students, teachers and school staff in New Hampshire now have prioritized access to COVID-19 testing. The state says close to two dozen hospitals and outpatient practices across the state will give priority appointments within 24 hours to members of school communities who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Flickr/Ivan Radic

Far fewer young children are attending public kindergarten and preschool programs this year, according to recently released data from the New Hampshire Department of Education. The decline is part of a state-wide trend of decreased public school enrollment during the pandemic that is most dramatic among younger grades.

Courtesy Photo

As we approach the end of a tumultuous year, NHPR is checking in with some of the people we spoke with early on in the pandemic, to see how things have changed. It’s part of a series we’re calling "Hindsight.”

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Most of New Hampshire's biggest school districts have gone largely remote, as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Of the state's fifteen largest districts, the majority were in virtual instruction at some point this December.

Shane Adams via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/OJ5Pe

A continuación, encuentra las noticias del jueves 17 de diciembre. 

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.

Contagios, hospitalizaciones y fallecimientos por COVID siguen aumentando en New Hampshire

Los casos de COVID-19 continúan en un número elevado en New Hampshire. 

Manchester School District

por Sarah Gibson, traducción por Daniela Vidal Allee

El distrito escolar de Manchester ha publicado nuevos datos que muestran que los estudiantes de secundaria y bachillerato han tenido dificultades durante la pandemia, especialmente, los estudiantes de color. 

Un análisis de las calificaciones y asistencia del primer trimestre -- cuando la mayoría de los estudiantes tomaban clases remotas -- mostró que en comparación al año pasado, casi 10 por ciento más de los estudiantes perdieron o faltaron a clases este otoño. 

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Snow is on its way to New Hampshire, but some schools say students and parents shouldn’t expect a snow day to come with it.

With tens of thousands of Granite State students now learning at home, superintendents now have to decide if a snow day is warranted. Some say it isn't.

Courtesy of Manchester School District

The Manchester school district has released new data that shows middle and high school students are struggling during the pandemic, especially students of color.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Throughout this school year, NHPR’s COVID & The Classroom reporting initiative has asked students, teachers and parents to share their stories of what education looks like during the pandemic.

Although many New Hampshire schools are currently in hybrid or remote status, many are still moving forward with winter sports.  COVID-19 transmission in school buildings has remained relatively low, but high-contact sports have raised some safety concerns.

There are strong feelings about this. Many school boards are in favor of continuing sports — while school administrators have pushed back.

As schools debate the issue, we asked our audience,  “Can winter sports be safe during the pandemic, and are they worth the risk?”

This is a snapshot of the state's school dashboard as of Dec. 11. The actual dashboard might reflect different numbers, depending on when you're reading this.
NH.gov/COVID19

Measuring the impact of COVID-19 in New Hampshire schools is a major concern for officials at the state and local level, not to mention families and school staff.

Emily Donati

New Hampshire's school nurses are among the people on the front lines of the pandemic. Emily Donati began working as a school nurse this year at Lamprey River Elementary School in Raymond. She spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.

Courtesy of Ken Gordon

The coronavirus pandemic has isolated a lot of us, but it’s also brought community institutions together in a new way. In New Hampshire's North Country, a daily zoom call has become essential for leaders managing the fallout of the pandemic.

An outside classroom in Westmoreland New Hampshire
Sarah Gibson / NHPR

Early research on the coronavirus in schools and among young people suggests that with proper precautions, classrooms are not the superspreaders that many had feared. 

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.

Amanda Loder for NHPR

Fewer students in New Hampshire are attending their neighborhood public school this year, according to new data from the state Department of Education.

The state typically sees a one percent drop in public school enrollment each year, due to aging demographics, but this fall’s decline is far more significant: about four percent statewide.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the education system across the country, and in New Hampshire. 

NHPR’s “COVID & the Classroom” tells the stories of how Granite Staters are weighing the necessity of employment and school with the realities of the pandemic. And we want to hear from you.

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