School cancels DeVos visit, says a staffer tested positive

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A Bedford public school canceled a scheduled visit Friday by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson for the New Hampshire Department of Education said.

“They had informed us this morning that they had a positive test and obviously wanted to cancel the visit" at McKelvie Intermediate School in Bedford, spokesperson Grant Bosse said.

DeVos did go on to visit Riddle Brook Elementary School in Bedford, he said.

The decision regarding McKelvie was made by school officials in Bedford, he said.

“We defer to local officials on how to run their schools," he said. “Not being in the middle of the school while they were doing contact tracing and other things like that just made sense.”

The schools were chosen because of how they notified families about earlier cases of the virus, according to a school board meeting this week.

The U.S. Department of Education confirmed that the visit to the one school was canceled Friday “out of an abundance of caution" and that the school was executing its coronavirus response plan.

Other coronavirus-related developments in New Hampshire:

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CITY HALL CLOSING

Two new positive COVID-19 cases have been identified at Nashua City Hall, bringing the total among staff to six and news that City Hall will close for two weeks, officials said.

City Hall will be closed starting Monday through Oct. 5. Essential services, such as motor vehicle, city clerk, and tax office transactions, will remain available via phone, email and dropbox, the city said.

Last week, Mayor Jim Donchess said he had tested positive for the coronavirus. He said he hadn't been feeling extremely sick.

“City leaders are working with Nashua's Department of Public Health and Community Services on health and safety protocols at this time, as well as sharing information with City Hall employees to main the wellbeing of all," Donchess said in a statement. "The health and safety of city employees and members of the public is the No. 1 priority."

Nashua was one of the first communities in the state to enact a face mask ordinance.

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THE NUMBERS

As of Friday, 7,861 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 48 from the previous day. The number of deaths remained at 438.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire increased over the past two weeks from 22 new cases per day on Sept. 3 to 34 new cases per day on Sept. 17.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia or death.