PORTSMOUTH – On July 14, 2020, Governor Sununu’s School Reopening and Redesigning Taskforce (STRRT) issued guidance on school reopening in New Hampshire.
NEA-NH has railed against the document which lacks clear and concise guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
We agree. The NH Science and Public Health Task Force has asked Gov. Chris Sununu to issue an emergency order for masks and face-coverings beginning in March of 2020.
It is clear that use of face coverings/masks prevents the spread of COVID-19 to protect our children, families, educators and communities. Additionally, most New Hampshire schools are decades old and do not have updated ventilation systems to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Schools could reopen safely with the following precautions:
1. Ensure schools have proper ventilation measured by at least one fresh air exchange per hour.
2. School districts need plans and funding for testing and contact tracing if an outbreak occurs. Funding should also include periodic testing of teachers and staff.
3. Reduced exposure potential with each of the following:
a. At least 6 feet of social distancing.
b. Mask/face coverings
c. Reduced occupancy – shorter days.
The science needs to lead to re-open NH schools safely.
Nora Traviss, PhD, Keene; Ben Locwin, PhD, MBA, MS, MBB, Portsmouth; Hon. Rich DiPentima, Portsmouth; Tiffany Matthews, MS, Keene; Mindi Messmer, MS, Rye; Margaret Breault, RN, Salem; John Stevens, PhD, Stratham; Marc Hiller, PhD, Hampton; C. David London, MD, Stratham