New Hampshire Governor Sununu Executive Orders and Independent Schools

Written by: Linda S. Johnson & Susan E. Schorr


Many New Hampshire Independent Schools have been keeping a watchful eye on the Executive Orders being issued by Governor Chris Sununu as they relate to independent and public schools.  The Executive Orders can be found at 

The following is an overview of the Governor’s Executive Orders as of March 22, 2020 with some of the highlights that relate specifically to schools:

  1. On March 13, 2020, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu issued Executive Order 2020-04:  An order declaring a state of emergency due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Among the directives in the order was:

  • All school sponsored out-of-state travel for students and teachers in New Hampshire public schools is suspended.


  1. On March 15, 2020, Governor Sununu issued Emergency Order 1 requiring all public schools K-12 to transition to temporary remote instruction.  Among the directives of the order were:
  • All public K-12 school districts within the state of New Hampshire shall transition to temporary remote instruction and support for a three week period beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 and ending Friday, April 3, 2020.
  • Beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 all public K-12 schools shall be closed to students to allow each school district to develop remote instruction and remote support capacity and transition to temporary remote instruction and support.
  • Order shall remain in effect to April 6, 2020.


  1. On March 16, 2020, the Governor issued an Emergency Order 2 temporarily prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more attendees and onsite beverage and food consumption. Among the provisions of the Order were:
  • The restriction on scheduled gatherings of 50 people or more  for “social, spiritual and recreational activities, including but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, faith based, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers and similar activities. This restriction does not apply to the day-to-day operations of businesses.
  • The onsite restrictions on consumption does not apply to food or beverage service in cafeterias located within a private business which are primarily intended to feed the employees of that business.


  1. On March 17, 2020, the Governor issued Emergency Order 3 declaring that certain services are necessary to maintain the safety and protection of the public.  This order states that all providers of electric, gas, water, telephone, cable, VOIP, internet service, and deliverable fuel services will be prohibited from disconnecting or discontinuing service for non-payments for the duration of the State of Emergency.


  1. On March 17, 2020, the Governor issued  Emergency Order 4 imposing a temporary restriction on evictions and foreclosures.  It provides that landlords will not be allowed to start eviction proceedings for those unable to pay due to their financial situations. To do so would be against the law. All judicial and non-judicial foreclosure actions will also be prohibited during the state of emergency.  The order does not relieve any individual of their obligation to pay rent or mortgage due.


  1. On March 17, 2020, the Governor issued Emergency Order 5 regarding access to State unemployment benefits to individuals.  It provides that individuals who are unable to work or who have reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have immediate access to unemployment benefits. Among its provisions are that:
  • It temporarily suspends the wait period.
  • It extends benefits to self-employed individuals and others who are temporarily unemployed due to certain COVID-19 related situations such as their own COVID-19 diagnosis; being quarantined at the instruction of a health care provider, employer or government official; or to care for a family member or dependent who is unable to care for themselves due to a COVID related school closing, child care facility or care program, among other reasons.
  • It provides that unemployment compensation benefits paid by reason of this Order shall be charged against the unemployment compensation trust fund and not against the account of the most recent employer.
  • It states that if the federal government passes a law that provides for benefits set forth in this Order, the federal law will take precedent.


  1. On March 18, 2020, the Governor issued Emergency Order 6 allowing temporary authorization for take-out or delivery beer or wine. It provides that all restaurants, diners, bars, saloons, private clubs or any other establishment that have both a restaurant license and on premise license from the New Hampshire liquor commission shall be temporarily authorized to allow for takeout or delivery of beer or wine.


  1. On March 18, 2020, the Governor issued Emergency Order 7 regarding the temporary modification of data and privacy governance plans.  This provides for a relaxation of school district data privacy obligations as it relates to the use of software applications used in remote learning.


  1. On March 18, 2020, the Governor issued Emergency Order 8 allowing for the temporary expansion of access to Telehealth Services to protect the public and health care providers.  It requires health care plans to allow in-network providers to deliver clinically appropriate, medically necessary covered services via telehealth including video, audio and electronic media.  The extends to physicians, nurses, psychologists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors and providers, and others.


  1. On March 19, 2020, the Governor issued Emergency Order 9 to establish a $50 million dollar COVID-19 Emergency Healthcare System Relief Fund to help ensure the ability to provide emergency relief to all aspects of the NH healthcare system.


  1. On March 21, 2020, the Governor issued Emergency Order 10  requiring all sellers of groceries to temporarily transition to use of single use paper or plastic bags.


Schools would be wise to visit this website regularly to keep up with any new State Emergency COVID-19 related Orders.

If any school has questions about the application of these orders to their school, you are welcome to call Linda Johnson, Chair of the firm’s Education Law Group or Susan Schorr, Vice Chair.  Their contact information is:

Linda Johnson
603-628-1267 work direct
603-566-6287 mobile
[email protected]

Susan Schorr
857-305-1960 work direct
(617) 448-5113 mobile
[email protected]

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