NH Health, Education Departments Call For End To Masks In Schools

CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire Departments of Health and Education recommend graters and masks to schools.

The New Hampshire Department of Public Health updated its recommendations for the use of masks and face coatings on Wednesday. The new guide no longer recommends the use of a universal face mask either indoors or outdoors, including in particular at school.

Frank Edelblut, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education, said the decision means schools must abandon the mask requirements.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all New Hampshire schools for their hard work and continued to provide the best educational opportunities for Granite youth,” he said. “I understand it has been difficult. NHDOE will continue to work with schools and support them as they change their policies in line with health guidelines.”

The public health decision prompted the New Hampshire Department of Education to issue a technical consultation on Wednesday.

Unlike information published at the start of the pandemic, school districts have the right to require students to wear face masks as part of their own health and safety policies based on state education regulations. However, a shift in public health policy has now made masks incompatible with previous state education rules that were used to allow districts to use face masks.

The recommendation set out a problem: the mask requirement could now violate the district’s obligation to maintain a policy that “complies[] the educational needs of each individual student, “Ed 306.04 (a) (6),”[p]romot[e] a school environment conducive to learning “, Ed 306.04 (11), and that”[m]meets the special physical health needs of students. ” Ed 306.04 (a) (22).

Therefore, according to previous health guidelines, schools should move on to adopting these new health guidelines as soon as possible, the department said.

A number of schools in the state no longer require masks or face coatings or are considering policy changes.

In SAU 8, Concord School District, a subcommittee voted to recommend the school board move to an optional mask policy on March 14. If positive cases in any school exceed 3 percent of the school population, then a school that exceeds the 3 percent threshold will return to the mask for 10 days, according to a proposal that was to be considered on March 7.

Editor’s note: I was the Director of Communications of the Department of Education of New Hampshire from April 13, 2018 to April 16, 2019.

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