By Lisa Gresci

SOUTH HAMPTON, N.H. (CBS) — The number of children in New Hampshire infected with COVID-19 in schools is the highest it has been since the pandemic started.

The Department of Health calls the level of transmission among school-aged kids “substantial”.

Parents like Cristin Chabot are appreciative to be in the know, even if these outbreaks seem to be popping up out of nowhere.

“As a parent, I feel relieved that the school is letting us know when there are outbreaks,” Chabot said. “I find it odd that now, after all we’ve been through, that it’s the kids now being affected. And is it because they aren’t all vaccinated yet? I know parents are anxious to get their kids vaccinated.”

As of this week, there are 26 current outbreaks and 523 active cases in New Hampshire schools. The seven-day positivity rate is at 9.3%.

New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut says it was anticipating case numbers in the schools would rise as the winter months approached, especially with testing in schools.

“In spite of the increase in the number of children who have been affected, we still find that there is very low risk associated with children that get infected with COVID,” he said.

At the South Hampton Barnard School, students spent some time playing outside. The school, experiencing two COVID clusters, offered remote learning back from November 1-8 as a response to the increase in cases.

“Remote learning is not the answer, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think kids did well with that,” Chabot said.

As for what the answer could be?

“Just having those students stay home, who are testing positive, versus, ‘Oh, we have an outbreak, Oh, everyone has to stay home,” Chabo said.

Commissioner Edelblut says that is something they are looking at.

“We think that the targeted approach, where we focus on the vulnerable students, those students that are affected, those students who are symptomatic, is going to be a much more effective approach,” he explained.

And in the meantime, with Thanksgiving around the corner, parents know what’s coming.

“We’ll see more, and I think we just need to not panic,” Chabot added. “I think we’ll be ok.”

Lisa Gresci