“Here at Winnacunnet High School there is no such thing as essential travel,” Nurse Tine
Svanholm said referencing the SAU 21 policy.
In New Hampshire, those traveling outside of New England must quarantine for 10 days before returning to school, work or other commitments according to the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services. These quarantine rules apply with the exception of essential travel. Essential travel includes for work, medical care, parental shared custody, and for care of others.
As high school students are advancing in the college process, college tours and overnight visits are also classified as essential travel. This means a high school student could visit an institution outside of New England and not need to quarantine upon return to the state.
vanholm said that the policy at Winnacunnet is different from the statewide policy.
”If a student goes to a college [visit] in Florida, [they] need to quarantine for 10 days,” Svanholm said.
“We feel as though it’s safer to keep students out for the 10 days.” McGowan said.
This differs from the statewide policy but Svanholm said that schools have the ability to do this as long as they don’t go below the recommended measures. She also said that this policy is district wide as it was a decision made by SAU 21.
“We feel that if you use an airport or travel far it is not safe for you to come back to school,” Svanholm said.
Svanholm also emphasized that the full quarantine must be completed prior to returning to the school and there is no way that it can be shortened.
“You cannot test out of quarantine,” Svanholm said. “For example if you test negative on day 4 or 5 of quarantine you still must complete the 10 days.”
Students at Winnacunnet must complete a questionnaire called “Pickup Patrol” prior to arrival at the school that includes questions about travel and quarantine. Svanholm encouraged students to be honest and responsible when it comes to self isolation and quarantine.
Winnacunnet Principal William McGowan said that the school has had no issues thus far with positive COVID cases in the building.
“It’s critical that everyone is truthful and follows the guidelines,” McGowan said.
Svanholm said that if a student does test positive or think there is a possibility of exposure, they must quarantine or isolate.
“There is a difference between quarantine and isolation.” Svanholm said. “You isolate if you get diagnosed with COVID or if you have symptoms. If you're questioning exposure to the virus or you have travelled then you quarantine.”
According to the CDC, those in isolation should stay in isolation until ten days after they showed the first symptom. This is compared to the fourteen days they recommend for those quarantining to watch for possible symptoms.