Summer school guidance issued, historic garden recreated

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Summer school teachers and students are getting guidance about how to stay safe, and a historic garden recreated on the Isles of Shoals every summer has a new temporary home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

SUMMER SCHOOL

Teachers, students and staff will be encouraged but not required to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus this summer, according to Department of Education guidance issued Friday.

The guidance, drafted in cooperation with public health officials, says educators are encouraged to wear fabric face coverings when 6 feet of social distancing is difficult to maintain or when caring for students with underlying health conditions.

Masks are also recommended for students, though the guidance spells out instances in which masks are not recommended, such as for students who have trouble breathing, wear hearing aids or are likely to frequently touch the masks and render them less effective.

The rules also spell out screening, social distancing and sanitation procedures.

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HISTORIC GARDEN

A garden that once inspired one of America's foremost impressionist painters has been reconstructed in a new location because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the late 1880s, poet Celia Thaxter attracted members of Boston's literary and artistic societies to her family's hotel on Appledore Island off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Artist Childe Hassam kept a studio there and featured Thaxter's gardens in a series of paintings.

The island is now home to the Shoals Marine Laboratory, and hundreds of people visit a recreation of the garden each summer. But the tours have been canceled this year because of the pandemic.

At the same time, the city of Portsmouth was struggling to find enough plants for its summer garden at Prescott Park. With financial help from a frequent visitor to the garden, officials this week planted a recreation of Thaxter's garden at the Portsmouth site.

"Celia Thaxter and her garden are so beloved and visitors from all over the world are passionate about seeing it each summer so we knew we had to find the right spot on the mainland to replant this special garden for the summer” said Jennifer Seavey, director of the marine lab. “We think we have found the perfect interim site at Prescott Park thanks to the City of Portsmouth.”

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THE NUMBERS

As of Friday, 5,486 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 37. Six deaths were announced, for a total of 337.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.