With COVID-19 cases rising again, the state Division of Public Health and Department of Education are asking parents to have their children tested the day before they return to the classroom.
Spring break for most Delaware schools will occur the week of April 18.
Families can use over-the-counter tests — which some schools gave to student families during the last week — or go to a convenient testing location.
With most mask mandates lifted around the country, many people will be attending big family gatherings or travel to other areas, the state pointed out in a press release.
Public Health distributed about 190,000 home test kits to school districts, charter schools and private/parochial schools this month. Schools were allowed to keep them for in-school testing or distribute them to families.
Free at-home COVID-19 test kits can be ordered from the federal government at covidtests.gov. They also can be bought at nearby pharmacies. A testing site near you can be found at de.gov/gettested.
“Our educators, students and families are grateful that, after two years of intermittent remote learning and quarantines, having everyone back in our buildings full time has made this spring feel more like a ‘typical’ school year,” said Secretary of Education Mark Holodick. “As families and staff travel over the break, I encourage everyone to continue mitigation strategies to reduce their risk of exposure and to test themselves before they return to school. This will help us finish this school year in the face-to-face instruction we are so happy to have back.”
In addition to testing before returning to school, families are encouraged to seek testing for their children when a student has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, has COVID-19 symptoms, or wishes to know their status before spending time with a person who is vulnerable to COVID-19, such as the immunocompromised, elderly or unvaccinated.
Vaccines will be available over spring break for those who want them.
“Cases have slightly increased over the last week. We know COVID is not over,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health. “Right now is actually the perfect time to make sure everyone is up to date on their vaccines to protect themselves and their community.”
One way to avoid COVID-19 is to voluntarily wear a mask in areas of high COVID-19 transmission. Also consider wearing a mask around others if you are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or around people who are.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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