Feltes and Volinsky Agree That Sununu Hasn’t Led on School Reopening.
Feltes: “On this particular situation, he is following the lead of Trump and Betsy DeVos. This is not a quote unquote plan. This is a punt.”
Volinsky: “I think it’s time that Sununu and Edelblut showed their commitment to New Hampshire and not their fealty to Trump, Pence, and DeVos. It’s a problem.”
Dan Feltes, the majority leader of the New Hampshire Senate and Andru Volinsky, a member of the Executive Council of New Hampshire, are campaigning to be their party’s choice to run against Governor Chris Sununu. The Democratic Party Primary will be held on Tuesday, September 8 and the General Election will be on Tuesday, November 3. Senator Dan Feltes and Councilman Andy Volinsky will get together at the Barley House in Concord for a socially distanced debate which will be aired on WKXL next Thursday, July 30th. Chris Ryan will be the moderator as part of the Pints and Politics series.
In two separate interviews with WKXL’s Chris Ryan, the Democratic Party candidates discuss Governor Sununu’s plan to reopen schools in New Hampshire this fall.
State Senator Dan Feltes feels that Governor Sununu has failed to provide leadership during the Coronavirus pandemic and has only followed the lead of Governor Baker of Massachusetts. Feltes criticizes Governor Sununu for not providing clear guidelines to the school districts of New Hampshire on how to reopen our schools this fall, “On this particular situation, he is following the lead of Trump and Betsy DeVos. This is not a quote unquote plan. This is a punt.”
Senator Feltes makes the point that local school boards are comprised of volunteers from their communities who don’t have the expertise in epidemiology to be making the public health decisions which need to be made. He feels that the problem is compounded by Governor Sununu waiting until now to make this ruling which has given local districts less time to devise their plans.
To reopen the schools, Senate Majority Leader Feltes feels that these steps on a statewide level are necessary: 1) a census of how many students, teachers, bus drivers, etc. are coming back in the fall; 2) has enough PPE-Personal Protective Equipment for teachers, staff, and students been acquired; 3) testing for teachers, students and staff needs to be available; 4) a contingency plan or policy has to be in place if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in a school.
The conclusion of the interview deals with how we should deal with a resurgence of the Coronavirus pandemic. Senator Feltes believes that we should be stockpiling masks and protective gear, and he criticizes Governor Sununu for not joining the Northeast Regional PPE Partnership. Dan Feltes has also called for an independent review of what happened in our nursing homes which was vetoed by Governor Sununu. Dan Feltes gives a long list of measures designed to assist citizens of New Hampshire affected by the pandemic.
Andru Volinsky, a member of the Executive Council of New Hampshire, also weighed in on the reopening of schools this fall. Councilman Volinsky also feels that Governor Sununu and the New Hampshire Commissioner of the Department of Education, Frank Edelblut, have not provided enough guidelines and support to local schools. The direction and future of remote learning was discussed. Councilman Volinsky is critical of how Governor Sununu and Commissioner Edelblut have decided to move away from remote learning because President Trump and Secretary of Education DeVos have called for a return to direct classroom instruction. “I think it’s time that Sununu and Edelblut showed their commitment to New Hampshire and not their fealty to Trump, Pence, and DeVos. It’s a problem.”
Andru Volinsky raises a number of questions about the preparations which need to be made in order to reopen our schools in September. Air circulation equipment, PPE, hand sanitizer, additional personnel, etc. need to be purchased. If Andru Volinsky were to win the Democratic Party Primary and the general election, he would require that students leave home with a mask and wear it most of the time, and density on school buses would be reduced by having parents walk and drive their children to school whenever possible. He would stagger class schedules to reduce classroom density. Volinsky expects a resurgence of the Coronavirus after the first six weeks. Therefore, his goal would be to prepare for a seamless transition to remote learning by October.