Two elementary school students who were kicked off a school bus in New Hampshire last week for not keeping their faces covered will be allowed to return on the bus.
The Monroe Consolidated School Board convened an emergency meeting on Monday to say that JPI Transportation had backed down from its decision to ban the two boys, ages 9 and 10, from the bus for the rest of the school year, the Caledonian-Record reported.
Going forward, a student caught not wearing a mask will be banned from the bus for five days. A second offense will bring a 10-day ban and a third offense will lead to a meeting between the bus company and school officials to determine the next penalty.
A New Hampshire court has thrown out a lawsuit by Democratic legislative leaders to stop Republican Gov. Chris Sununu from spending federal COVID-19 relief funds without their permission.
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge David Anderson ruled Tuesday that the legislature had given the governor the power to accept and spend federal money on emergency management.
“Therefore, the Governor’s spending of CARES Act funds is done pursuant to an act of the legislature and is agreeable to the acts and resolves of the general court,” Anderson wrote. “Should the legislature wish to remove this authority, it may do so by changing the law.”
Democrats filed the lawsuit in April seeking an emergency order to halt Sununu’s newly created Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery. They argue only the Legislature’s joint fiscal committee has the power to act on the $1.25 billion in federal funds received by the state.
“Had the Democrats won this case six months ago, our COVID relief efforts would have stalled, negatively impacting every citizen of our state,” Sununu said in a statement. “I am thankful for the Superior Court’s ruling in this case, but it is unfortunate so many state resources were wasted defending this failed lawsuit by Democrat leadership."
The executive director of the state's School Administrator Association warned that districts need almost $70 million to cover costs related to preparing schools to reopen amid the coronavirus.
Carl Ladd, testifying Tuesday at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Relief & Recovery Legislative Advisory Board, said districts were counting on FEMA to reimburse them for costs such as cleaning supplies, dividers and additional transportation that would allow them to reopen and stay open. But the state was advised last month that wasn't going to happen.
“There was anticipation throughout the summer and fall that there would be FEMA funds available to them for purchase of PPE, sanitizing stations, sanitation equipment,” Ladd told the board. “There was a lot of confusion about FEMA funds. Now, districts are pivoting understanding there are no FEMA funds available to them and using CARES Act allocation to make their schools ready to reopen and move in that direction and to stay open.”
Ladd said that the estimated $68 million for the 276 district in the state is only through October, so that figure could increase.
Board members said they hoped to be able to come to a decision on a funding recommendation by the end of the week. That will be forwarded to Republican Gov. Chris Sununu's office.
POSITIVE TESTS AT DARTMOUTH
Three undergraduate students living off-campus from Dartmouth College have tested positive for COVID-19, the college said.
The students are in isolation and receiving medical care and support, the college's COVID-19 task force leaders said in an email to the college community. The state health departments in New Hampshire and Vermont are working on contact tracing. Further information on where the students live was not provided by the college or health officials.
Dartmouth’s COVID-19 dashboard also shows that two members of its faculty or staff also are infected currently. The college has reported a total of 12 cases since July 1.
The Valley News reports about 2,000 Dartmouth students, including graduate students, are living off campus, in Hanover, Lebanon and as far away as Grantham, New Hampshire, and in Quechee, Vermont. Most classes are being taught remotely.
Associated Press writer Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire contributed to this report.