Boston public schools to start; NH high school sports resume

A look at developments related to the coronavirus in New England on Sunday:

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MASSACHUSETTS

Boston Public Schools are starting up on Monday with full remote learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools will later move to a hybrid model that will include some in-person learning.

Boston Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said the hybrid model will allow students to learn in-person for two days a week and learn remotely three days a week, NBCBoston reported.

“Families with students who have not opted in to the hybrid model, and plan to learn remotely five days a week, will not lose their spot,” she said.

Parent Elizabeth Mayer said she was nervous for Monday, “but I’ve been reassured by the teachers here that they’re going to be as supportive as they can.”

The Boston Teachers Union is concerned about air quality in the city’s schools.

“The reason we’re willing to do remote learning is not because we want to, but because health and safety has to come first,” said Jessica Tang, the union's president Jessica Tang.

Massachusetts reported 340 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 15 more deaths on Sunday.

The state has had a total of more than 125,000 confirmed cases and 9,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

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MAINE

In the last month, Maine has issued 14 citations to businesses for not complying with guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, up from just two in previous months.

The increased enforcement comes after a wedding ceremony and reception in the Millinocket area in early August that is linked to outbreaks in at least two other locations in Maine, with more than 170 people contracting the virus and eight deaths since.

The Portland Press Herald reports that 14 businesses, mostly restaurants, were given "imminent health hazard” citations since August 20. Two of those establishments had been previously cited since the the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state temporarily suspended the food and beverage licenses of two business for repeatedly violating state protocols, according to state health inspection program records obtained by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. The other cited businesses were in compliance by last week.

Most businesses, particularly restaurants and hotels, are complying with the state's safety guidelines, according to Dana Connors, president and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.

“Maine businesses have done an incredible job of addressing their responsibilities and recognizing the role they play for the state,” Connors said. “Those that don’t are the exception and not the rule. I think businesses have stepped up and taken this on with tremendous responsibility, and I find it hard to be convinced otherwise.”

Maine reported 44 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday for a total of more than 5,000 since the pandemic began. No new deaths were reported.

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RHODE ISLAND

In the first week of school in Rhode Island, a total of 48 COVID-19 cases were identified, the Rhode Department of Heath said.

The department said that 19 of the 48 people were in school during their infectious period.

The Health Department told NBC 10 News that it did not see large numbers of cases at particular schools and that some instances of multiples cases at individual schools involved siblings.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

High school sports have resumed in New Hampshire with social distancing, masks and other policies.

Football can start up this upcoming week, officials said.

At Pembroke Academy in Pembroke this past week, field hockey and soccer games took place. Players wore masks while warming up, kept distance from each other on the sidelines and each player had their own water bottle, WMUR-TV reported.

“We’ve got to be wearing the face masks, got to be social distancing,” athletic director Fred Vezina said. “Kids are warming up with the face masks. We can only put so many on the bus. All those things have been challenges."

New Hampshire announced 29 new confirmed virus cases on Sunday.

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VERMONT

The Rutland Housing Authority is working to get permits for two projects that will provide about 20 units of transitional and affordable housing using federal coronavirus relief funding but officials say the deadline is tight.

One project called Woodstock Transitional Housing will provide housing for people currently in hotel rooms paid for by the state. The other — Pine Street Apartments — will be longer-term affordable housing and will accept people from hotel rooms or the Woodstock project, Kevin Loso, executive director of the Rutland Housing Authority, told the Rutland Herald.

The two projects will cost about $4.2 million, he said.

“The grant we received through the Vermont Housing Conservation Board requires us to have the properties completed no later than Dec. 20,” he said. “It’s going to be a mad dash to the finish line.”

There are currently 150 individuals and families in Rutland County living in hotels, with their stays paid for by the state, Loso said.

On Sunday, Vermont reported five new confirmed cases of COVID-19, for a total to date of 1,715. No new deaths have been reported since late July.

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CONNECTICUT

Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut announced on Twitter Sunday that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and will quarantine for 14 days.

“After going to 2 urgent care centers yesterday, I finally got an appointment at a 3rd site and was tested this morning,” the first-term Democrat said. Hayes said she has no COVID-19 symptoms “except for breathing issues which are being monitored.”

Hayes sought testing after one of her staff members tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.

Hayes, 47, said she contracted the virus despite taking “every possible precaution.”

Connecticut has recorded more than 55,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 4,400 deaths, with four new deaths as of Friday.