CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire will not require any schools to reopen this fall, but is offering guidance on how districts can do so safely.
Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday outlined recommendations for screening, social distancing, hygiene and other safety measures aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus. While President Donald Trump is demanding that schools resume in-person instruction, New Hampshire is leaving it to each school district to decide whether to fully return to the classroom, continue with remote instruction or combine those two options.
The roadmap released Tuesday includes information about rearranging classrooms to maximize social distancing, screening of staff and visitors and other precautions. Schools that do reopen must provide accommodations for students and educators who are not able to return due to underlying health concerns. Masks will be required for all outside visitors, including parents, and strongly encouraged for staff and students under certain circumstances.
The Republican governor initially ordered all schools to close for three weeks starting March 16 and later extended that for the remainder of the academic year.
Other coronavirus-related developments in New Hampshire:
REQUIRED FACE COVERINGS
The city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is moving toward requiring the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Portsmouth Herald reports that the City Council voted 9-0 in favor of a mask mandate resolution Monday night and will meet with the city attorney later this week to write a formal ordinance.
Momentum for such a mandate grew after Trump announced plans to hold a campaign rally at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease on July 11. The president later postponed the rally, citing the threat of bad weather.
The resolution calls for the wearing of face coverings when people are within 6 feet (2 meters) of each other. It wouldn't apply to children ages 6 or younger, people with a medical condition where wearing a mask may pose a risk, or individuals walking, biking or exercising as long as social distancing is maintained.
A judge this week refused to strike down Nashua's mask ordinance while it's being challenged in court.
New Hampshire’s 11.8% unemployment rate for June reflects the impact of the pandemic, officials say.
The rate was a decrease of 3.6% from May, which increased to 15.4% after revision.
The June 2019 seasonally adjusted rate was 2.5%.
The number of employed residents for June was 656,580, an increase of 35,460 from the previous month and a decrease of 97,190 from June 2019.
The number of unemployed residents decreased by 24,760 over the month to 88,260. This was 68,560 more unemployed than in June 2019.
From May to June this year, the total labor force increased by 10,700 to 744,840. This was a decrease of 28,630 from June 2019.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 11.1 %, a decrease of 2.2% from the May rate, and an increase of 7.4% from the June 2019 rate.
As of Tuesday, nearly 6,100 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, and 392 had died. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.
Associated Press Writer Kathy McCormack contributed to this report.