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DOE, DHHS helping schools prepare for COVID-19

Statewide update available for all schools on Tuesday, March 3

For Immediate Release
February 28, 2020

Contact the Press Office

Grant Bosse, Director of Communications
(603) 271-0448 | [email protected]

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Department of Education has been working closely with the Governor’s Office and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human services over the past month as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has evolved.

On January 31, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services, Bureaus of Infectious Disease Control, issued Guidance for schools, colleges and universities relative the COVID-19, outlining among other things how schools should provide health care services to those potentially infected, preventive measures that should be taken to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, and school cleaning procedures. This guidance has been followed up with regular updates to school nurses, including Update number #4 published Wednesday, February 26, 2020.

On February 3, 2020 a statewide conference call was held by the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services for all school administrators and health personnel, to review published guidance, provide situation updates and respond to questions.

On Tuesday March 3, 2020, an additional statewide update call will be held for all of our schools, to provide them with the most up-to-date information available at that time.

"To date, there have been no cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire," stated Frank Edelblut, Commissioner of Education.  "Although health officials state that the risk is low, we are focused on being prepared in the case that the situation changes. We want to make sure that all of our school administrators and health providers have the information and resources to manage in the event that COVID-19 does present in our communities. We want to provide parents with current, up-to-date information about how to help prevent transmission of this and other respiratory viruses in school settings."

School staff, students, and their families can take the following steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections in schools and their communities:

  • Stay home from class and work until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours without taking any fever reducing medication and you feel better;
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects; and
  • Get the annual influenza vaccine.

Parents are encouraged to visit the CDC and NH DHHS website for the most up-to-date information.