CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said Thursday that he’s going to issue an executive order stipulating all school districts in the state have at least two days of in-person learning, starting in March.
The order would take effect on March 8, Sununu said at his weekly news conference. He said there are only about a half-dozen districts left in the state that aren't offering a hybrid schedule.
“It isn't just so the kids come back and have a more fuller, robust learning model," Sununu said. “It really is for the behavioral and mental health, the isolation issues, that so many of our students have been bearing with."
Earlier in the news conference, Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette spoke about pediatric psychiatric care. She said over the last few weeks, “we've seen the children's wait list for psychiatric beds at historic levels." She said she has commissioned New Hampshire Hospital to dedicate 10 beds to serve children experiencing a mental health crisis. She also said the state would be working with providers to provide more care for children, and that Hampstead Hospital anticipated having more beds available in May.
“We see that number of kids in our emergency rooms, waiting for a bed to get evaluated and work through the community mental health system or other opportunities that they can have to deal with a lot of these issues," Sununu said. "There's no doubt that the issues have been vastly exacerbated by COVID, and there's no doubt that allowing these kids — everyone, everyone across the state — to be in an in-person model is going to have beneficial effects for these children."
School employees would be in the next vaccination group, 2A, and the state is preparing to assist them with a target time of April, Sununu said.
“The data is all very clear, whether it’s the CDC, the state, everyone has said that there’s no reason that these schools cannot open without a vaccination,” he said.