CONCORD, NH – Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday at his regular news conference that all schools grades K-12 must return to full-time, in-person learning by April 19.
“The majority of schools are already in-person five days a week. The remaining schools will have had six weeks of hybrid learning as a ramp-up,” Sununu said.
He said 60 percent are already back five days a week. Sununu also left open the option for parents to keep their children at home learning remotely if they don’t feel comfortable sending them back.
Sununu reiterated what he’s been saying for months that the data proves it is safe for schools to reopen full time.
“We need to get our kids back into school,” Sununu said.
He also announced help for camps that need help paying for testing to reopen. He said the camps would be contacted with details.
Thirty-three percent of New Hampshire’s population have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 17 percent are fully vaccinated. All residents age 16 and older can register on Friday, April 2, for their shots, according to health officials.
Dr. Beth Daly, chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, provided details for those 16 and 17, explaining the FDA has only approved Pfizer vaccine for use in this age group and not all the sites have it.
When they go to register Friday at vaccines.nh.gov there will be a list of sites that offer Pfizer vaccines, but the 16- and 17-year-olds must bring a parent or legal guardian with them when they get the vaccine. If they don’t have a driver’s license or non-driver’s identification, they must bring a birth certificate or passport to prove their age.
“I want to encourage everyone to go ahead and get vaccinated,” Daly said, adding it’s the best way for everyone to get back to a more normal way of life.
Dr. Ben Chan, state epidemiologist, said 433 new people were diagnosed with COVID-19 Thursday.
“Over the last couple of weeks we have been seeing an increase in the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19,” Chan said. About 81 people are hospitalized, about the same as last week, he said.
“Unfortunately, there are seven new people that we’re announcing that have died from COVID-19 in the state none of which are associated with long-term care facilities,” Chan said. The total deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic stands at 1,245.
“We continue to see an increase in the number of new infections statewide,” Chan said. “The test positivity rate is slowly increasing and the decline in hospitalizations that we’re seeing has stalled. These numbers point to increased levels of community transmission.”
Chan stressed the importance of people continuing to wear their face masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds.
“Please get vaccinated at the earliest possible or available appointment,” Chan said.
Officials said the state received 45,000 doses of vaccine this week and expect 55,000 next week.
The state is also increasing the number of vaccination sites and already there are 45 different pharmacy locations offering the vaccinations, although all appointments must be registered through the state’s central VINI system.
“It’s going very well this week,” Sununu said.
When asked about delays at some vaccination sites, officials said the wind caused some problems.
Sununu said people will soon being seeing advertisements encouraging them to get vaccinated. He also doubled down and said out-of-state college students will not be vaccinated until all residents are vaccinated.