Hassan gathers Craig and other NH leaders on school re-opening discussion

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Mayor Joyce Craig on July 27, 2020. Screenshot

WASHINGTON – On Monday, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) brought together a panel of New Hampshire officials, including Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, to discuss challenges New Hampshire faces in restarting school this fall.

One key concern is the renovation money needed to make schools safe, ranging from HVAC upgrades, expanded broadband and plexiglass dividers in classrooms to additional funding for nurses and temperature checks.

In Manchester, it is expected to take approximately $5.8 million for the expected upgrades, with much of that amount going toward meeting Governor Sununu’s mandate of all Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings being held within 30 calendar days of the first day of school.

Earlier in the day, Craig released a letter to New Hampshire’s congressional delegation asking for direct assistance from the federal government through the HEROES Act as the city faces a variety of difficult pandemic-related budgetary decisions.

Hassan said that pending COVID-19 aid legislation should have significant support for all students.

“We’re working as hard as we can to get our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to sit with us and hammer out what the next relief package should be,” said Hassan. “We need to make sure that all students including students with special needs have their needs addressed at a time when its so important that kids know that we’re supporting them through this challenge.”

On the matter of whether to return to in-person learning, remaining with remote learning, or pursuing a hybrid of those two formats.

While sentiments varied among parents across the state, there was no clear majority anywhere for each of the options.

The panelists also indicated that if one or multiple plans are pursued in school re-opening procedures, contingencies must be put into place to adapt those plans based on the ever evolving nature of the pandemic.

“It’s critical that we’re flexible. We may open one way and then have to change it very quickly, because things are changing on a daily basis,” said Craig.

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) on July 27, 2020. Screenshot

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About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.