Gov. Chris Sununu is pictured at a news conference in Concord in June. On Tuesday he released his school re-opening plan which makes masks optional for students in the classroom. (PAULA TRACY PHOTO)

CONWAY — Masks will not be mandated for students seated in classrooms, provided they can adequately social distance — that’s one of the highlights in the state’s 54-page “Back-To-School" guidance for New Hampshire schools that Gov. Chris Sununu released Tuesday afternoon.

“We all share a goal in getting our kids back to school safely and believe this guidance allows schools to open, but we know each school district will have a different path forward,” said Sununu. “Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, this is a guide that values local control, and helps each school district make the best decision for their students and teachers.”

Highlights of the plan include:

• Daily screening process for staff, students and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19 or risk factors for exposure prior to entering schools.

• Recommendation for classroom arrangement to minimize close contact between students.

• Masks, while not mandated for students when seated in the classroom, are recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Ultimate determination of their use will be a local decision.

• Educators and staff working with students are encouraged to wear a cloth face covering when physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

• Masks mandated for all outside visitors to schools.

“This guidance provides concrete steps schools can take to reopen with built-in layers of protection to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, while also allowing school systems the flexibility to establish a process that will help them meet the unique needs of their student populations and communities,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan.

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut thanked "the thousands of experts, parents, teachers, school leaders and community members who provided invaluable input to the School Transition Reopening and Redesign Taskforce in the development of our reopening guidance.

“We expect students to be back in school in September, with local schools making decisions that work for their communities," he said.

"Nothing can ever eliminate all risk, but we must balance that risk with the need to educate New Hampshire children.”

To see the entire state plan, go to

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(3) comments


I find it amazing and disheartening that we as a nation aren't clever enough (or too arrogant) to learn from other countries regarding what works. Most asian countries returned to school in May after being locked down since February. EVERYONE WEARS A MASK. How hard is this to understand? Wake up or die anti maskers.


Stormy8, I thought you people said I was killing grandma by not wearing a mask? I'm healthy as can be and won't even get sick, let alone die, I'm also wide awake..... I find enjoyment in telling people from out of state where to go when they call me out for not wearing one in the grocery store. I don't go to their home town to spread an infectious disease but they have no problem coming to my town and telling me to live by their states rules 🙄


Every day more and more scientist and medical officials are stating that mask are necessary. New information was released by the CDC last week stating that the virus is airborne and the droplets within 6 feet are not the only way to catch Covid. Sending kids back to school and telling them that they do not have to wear a mask in the classroom is criminal and neglectful.

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