July 15, 2020 - CONCORD, NH - During yesterday’s press briefing, Governor Sununu took a 30-minute victory lap to tout New Hampshire’s impressive COVID-19 results. With charts and graphs he explained where we now stand in the country in our fight to contain the virus. It is impossible to deny the gains we have made as a state.
The Governor then moved to the subject of re-opening our schools and introduced his recommendations on how that was to be done. The victory lap was over, replaced by the Governor fumbling the ball on the one-yard line.
The Governor stressed the flexibility and local control nature of his guidelines. He stated that while PPE and social distancing were important, if it isn’t practical to implement, a school district could make it all optional.
New Hampshire’s impressive results in containing the spread of COVD-19 were not achieved because the Governor placed flexible restrictions on the state. He didn’t ask businesses to stay closed if it were practical. He put safety first and the results speak for themselves.
"Somehow, when it comes to school children and educators, the Governor believes the virus will act so differently that students and staff don’t need to wear masks, and social distance rules apply only if practical," said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH President.
During the briefing, Dr. Chan compared the guidelines to Swiss cheese, hoping that a safety hole in one layer of the guidance would be replaced by another layer to catch the virus. The Swiss cheese we have seen has holes right through it and so do these guidelines.
"We had hoped for a set of minimum safety standards for all schools to achieve before they were safe to reopen. Instead, we received 56 pages of ‘shoulds’ not ‘shalls’," Tuttle said.
Front-line public-school educators were not invited to be on the Task Force that created these guidelines. These are not what we asked for and do very little to keep students and staff safe.
"The fastest way to undo the remarkable progress New Hampshire has made against the virus is to allow these guidelines to define how we reopen our schools," said Tuttle.