Delaware Governor John Carney made good on his hints Tuesday with new restrictions for Delawareans because of the soaring number of COVID-19 cases.
As Delaware announced a new record of 754 new cases of COVID in one day in the wake of Thanksgiving holidays, Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health said late Thursday:
Delawareans should stay home.
- Schools should pause in person classes as of Dec. 14 and return to hybrid learning Jan. 11.
- Delawareans should only gather with immediate household members.
- Delawareans should wear masks in their own homes whenever someone is in it who is not a member of the regular household.
- Sports practices may continue, provided social distancing and masking guidelines are followed, but no competitions will be permitted from Dec. 14 through Jan. 11 at the earliest.
The measures are designed to interrupt the dangerous winter surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Carney’s press release said.
It warned that additional restrictions are under consideration, even though Carney has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to shut down everything and hurt businesses already reeling from the effects of the pandemic.
Read his a letter from him here.
The universal mask mandate, as the press release called it, requires Delawareans to wear a cloth face covering anytime they are indoors with anyone outside their immediate household. That’s in addition to the April 28 requirement that demands Delawareans and visitors wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing is not possible. Any child 2-years-old or younger MUST NOT wear a face covering, due to the risk of suffocation.
The recommendation to stop classes does not apply to child care centers. Schools that do not face significant operational challenges may remain in hybrid learning, with a mix of remote and in-person instruction, if they wish, the press release said.
The Delaware Department of Education will be meeting with educators and their district leadership or charter representatives to discuss any concerns or questions they may have, the press release said. Educators may also share their experiences and feedback by sending an email to Educator.Feedback@doe.k12.de.us.
Carney will formalize the advisory and universal mask mandate in a forthcoming revision to the omnibus COVID-19 emergency order.
“A vaccine is on the way but, make no mistake, we are facing the most difficult few months of this crisis,” Carney said in the press release. “I know we’re all tired of COVID-19 – but it’s not tired of us. We’re pleading with Delawareans to do the right thing. Wear a mask. It’s a simple sacrifice to protect others, and to make sure that Delaware’s children get an education. Do not gather with anyone outside your household. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
Schools are structured and relatively safe environments, he said, thanks to the hard work of educators, students and staff.
“But school leaders and educators face significant operational challenges as we see more community spread,he said. “If we pull together and follow the public health advice, we can get more children in classrooms, and get through this difficult winter.”