With increasing cases, some NH schools are considering reverting to distance learning

A micro-school class from Prenda.

Cases of COVID-19 infections in New Hampshire schools continue to rise, and some schools are now considering a return to distance learning to weather the winter wave.

State epidemiologist Dr Benjamin Chan held a conference call on Wednesday to brief school leaders on the state of the pandemic. According to state data, there is a substantial level of transmission of the virus, with a positivity rate of 12.4% and 1,009.5 cases per 100,000 people in schools in the past 14 days.

Gov, Chris Sununu dismissed the idea that the New Hampshire school would close for the winter wave when asked by the NH Journal this week. “Children really need to be in school, they want to be in school, and this is the best place for their education,” Sununu said.

Sununu said schools have the resources they need to stay open, but admitted a few may become remote due to the virus. He doesn’t see the widespread closures.

“Going from a distance can be so damaging,” Sununu said. “We really want the children to go to school. “

So far, no Granite Stater under the age of 19 has died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in early 2020, and few have been hospitalized.

Schools in New Hampshire currently have 306 active cases, with 191 on-site clusters and 44 current on-site outbreaks. NHJournal is aware of at least one school that is currently considering distance learning based on state data presented on Wednesday.

School closures in early 2020 and distance learning for much of the 2020/2021 school year are now seen as causing damage to children who have lost ground in their education and suffered from problems with mental and emotional health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 25% of parents whose children received virtual or combined education reported deterioration in their children’s mental or emotional health, compared with 16% of parents whose children received a in-person teaching.

School closures also hurt communities as parents felt opposed to their schools and teachers.

In Nashua, the public school district with 11,000 students kept classrooms closed for most of the 2020/2021 school year, until Sununu issued an executive order requiring in-person classes to resume in March. This year.

Parents in Nashua became frustrated with the school closings, and the group that grew out of this frustration, Nashua Parent Voice, organized protests against the Nashua school board.

Protests continued this school year as many parents grew weary of mask warrants in schools. Others grew angry at a curriculum focused on aroused ideology rather than basic education, reflecting much of the angst in school boards nationwide. And like the national situation, Nashua also had its share of lunatics and fanatics, like the Proud Boys, who attended education board meetings to stir up problems.

A widespread return to distance learning could rekindle parents’ anger and accelerate the exodus of families leaving public schools.

In New Hampshire, according to the Census Bureau, the percentage of home students rose from 3.4% of all households in the spring of 2020 to more than 6% of all households in the fall. More and more families are also taking advantage of the state’s freedom of education accounts that help parents pay for private school and homeschooling options for their children.

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