Delaware officials eye mix of remote, in-person classes

WILMINGTON — Gov. John Carney said he is leaning toward a hybrid reopening of schools in the fall, based on Delaware’s current COVID-19 data.

“We believe at least the conditions on the ground today are adequate to reopen schools in a mixed, hybrid kind of fashion,” Gov. Carney said at his weekly COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

Gov. Carney, with guidance from the Delaware Division of Public Health, discussed the three scenarios under consideration to open schools. The scenarios are listed as green, yellow and red.

Green would allow for in-person instruction. Yellow means a mixture of remote-learning and in-person classes while red would be all remote learning.

Gov. Carney said Delaware’s data has been in the yellow scenario for close to a month and he expects it will stay there. He said he expects to announce his official decision next week.

“Clearly, all the data suggests that we are in yellow right now, we’ve been in yellow for sometime,” Gov. Carney said. “And if I had to predict, we’d be in yellow a week from now. But we will make that judgment then.”

Gov. Carney said the final decision will be made by each district.

“We will set this criteria. We will provide the guidance,” Gov. Carney said “The districts themselves will make that final decision.”

The data state officials are using to determine what scenario schools will open with includes new cases per 100,000 residents, new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents and percentage of positive tests.

Dr. Rick Hong, the DPH’s medical director, said the state is planning as if there will eventually be a positive COVID-19 case when schools do reopen to make sure it is prepared for all possible outcomes.

“The most important point I would like to mention is that we all should approach this as if we are going to get a positive case in schools,” Dr. Hong said.

“I think, given the situation right now, for us to assume that no school will have any cases is not necessarily a realistic approach. We want to make sure we are planning appropriately and our response is effective.”

Social distancing and face coverings will be required when school reopens, Dr. Hong said. If all parties follow this requirements, Dr. Hong said, one positive case should not make too much of an impact.

If any school does not adhere to these guidelines, it could lead to closures, Dr. Hong said.

“Adherence to use of face coverings and social distancing will be vital,” Dr. Hong said. “If compliance is there, there’s a lot less likelihood that anyone would need to be quarantined and that a school or a certain classroom will have to be closed down.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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