Parents maintain freedom to keep kids home from school

  • A ConVal School District bus. (Benji Rosen/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Benji Rosen

Monitor staff
Published: 2/19/2021 4:03:49 PM

Starting one week after students return from February vacation, schools will be required to open their doors for in-person learning at least two days week. However, parents who do not want to send their children back for in-person classes will not be forced to.

“Schools can still offer a remote-only option for anyone who wants it,” said Ben Vihstadt, a spokesperson for the governor.

Recent CDC guidance suggests that opening schools with appropriate safety precautions, such as mask policies, proper ventilation and social distancing guidelines, can be safe, even if teachers and children are not vaccinated. Most schools in New Hampshire have already adopted a hybrid model of learning that blends in-person and virtual classes.

The move to push schools open came as children in the state show signs of mental health difficulties. An unprecedented number of children have been waiting for psychiatric care in February, which Gov. Chris Sununu partly attributed to the isolation caused by remote learning. 

“It really is for the behavioral and mental health . . . that so many of our students have been bearing,” Sununu said Thursday when announcing his directive to reopen schools. “It has to be at least a couple days a week to get some eyes on these kids, to get that personal relationship re-established between students and their teachers.”

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