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High School students get treat at speedway; driving tests resume

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Merrimack Valley High School students will get to drive across the finish line at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during a special graduation ceremony later this month, and the state has resumed road tests for new drivers. But tourists hoping to explore the state by train are still out of luck, for now.

Coronavirus developments in New Hampshire:

ALL ABOARD?

The owner of the Mount Washington Cog Railway implored a task force Monday to allow his business to reopen, even if it means stopping short of the summit of the Northeast’s highest peak.

Wayne Presby, owner of the 150-year-old tourist train, presented proposed rules to the governor’s Economic Reopening Task Force that include initially limiting passenger car capacity to 50%, requiring passengers to wear face coverings and running separate trains for New Hampshire residents and out-of-staters. By mid-July, capacity restrictions would be lifted, and individuals from any state would be allowed on all trains.

“We also have the ability to offer shorter trips to reduce the time spent by guests in confined spaces,” he said. “If the committee feels it’s inappropriate for us to be taking trips all the way to the summit of Mount Washington, we can limit those to trips only partway up the mountain.”

David Swirk, owner of the Conway Scenic Railroad, said officials there have considered a separate train car for people with underlying medical conditions at greater risk of complications from COVID-19.

“It’s extremely important to at least let us start to open,” he said.

THE NUMBERS

As of Monday, 4,685 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 39 from the previous day. The number of deaths remained 245.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

CROSSING THE FINISH LINE

The graduating class at Merrimack Valley High School will cross the finish line of their high school careers at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The 185 graduating seniors will parade by car from the high school to the racetrack, where they will park and listen to the June 13 ceremony over the public address system. Following the speeches, cars will be directed down the front stretch and across the finish line. Families and guests will be limited to one vehicle per graduate.

Principal David Miller thanked the speedway for providing a safe and memorable way to celebrate the graduates.

ON THE ROAD

The New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles resumed road tests on Monday after suspending them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under new rules for driver’s education, classes are continuing online but students can now receive in-person road instruction. Both drivers and students are required to wear masks, and cars must be cleaned between sessions.

FESTIVAL

The 45th annual festival at Loon Mountain was scheduled for Sept. 18-20. Instead, the next one will be held Sept. 17-19, 2021.

“Scots have a long history of being courageous, sensible, and resilient,” officials said on the festival’s website. “We’ve had to be practical and resourceful about all manner of things. We remain spirited and strong.”

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