The New Hampshire Board of Education Thursday approved an emergency rule to allow the state’s public schools to offer remote instruction as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. The state’s existing rule on remote instruction allows such instruction for up to five days in case of extreme weather or emergency. The new, temporary rule, removes the five-day limit and allows districts to offer remote instruction without first submitting a plan to the state. It gives districts the authority to make that call on their own.
“School districts clearly needed more flexibility to respond to the spread of a contagion like the coronavirus,” Board of Education Chairman Drew Cline said. “The rules on the books did not anticipate a situation like the one superintendents are dealing with now. This emergency rule authorizes school districts to offer remote instruction for an extended period and empowers district officials to make that call without waiting for state approval.”
The New Hampshire Department of Education is also asking the federal government for waivers so that schools can continue offering meals to students even if school buildings are closed due to COVID-19.
And the state DOE has issued guidance regarding whether or not schools and organizations should hold large gatherings during the current coronavirus outbreak. From their website:
- EVALUATE RISK
New Hampshire is currently a low-risk area for the spread of COVID-19. Inviting people from around New Hampshire for an event does not in itself increase the risk of exposure. However, if your event would draw attendees from out of state or across the country, including from high-risk areas, you should consider canceling the event. This may mean, for example, that if you are having a school concert that will include mostly local New Hampshire attendees, that you might discourage extended family and friends from out of state from attending. One way to do that is to either video or live stream the event.
- PROTECT THE VULNERABLE
Safety should include the consideration of who might attend an event. Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness and we might want to discourage their attendance. One way to do that is to let the community know that you will video or live stream the event so that they also might participate.