Update: Milford pauses hybrid learning Tuesday; Capital moves all students to remote learning

All Capital students will return to remote learning Tuesday after the county’s reopening schools criteria moved to the “red” phase. Meanwhile, students in Milford will be attending school remotely Tuesday while the district evaluates its path forward.

Last week, the Capital school board voted that it would delay in-person learning for students in grades five through 12 until the new year, but planned to continue hybrid learning students in pre-K through fourth grade (who returned to in-person instruction in early November). Monday evening, however, the district determined it would return to all remote learning until at least Monday, Jan. 4.

Teachers will be able to work from home or their classrooms, a post on the district’s website states.

“We understand the concern this causes for all of our families and we want you to know that we are actively engaged with all appropriate state agencies,” Interim Superintendent Sylvia Henderson said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation, and, as updates become available, we will continue to provide them to you. Thank you for doing all you can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Milford School District announced it would pause hybrid learning Tuesday. Monday was its first day bringing high school students back after it postponed in-person instruction for those students due to several COVID-19 positives, though the district’s younger learners had slowly been phasing in.

The district hasn’t made any official decisions to postpone hybrid learning like Capital, but said that all classes would be remote Tuesday as it evaluates.

“The district will take a pause to further evaluate the situation before making a decision on the remainder of this week into next week.  The district will communicate further information by Wednesday of this week and individual schools will communicate information regarding tomorrow’s remote learning,” the district said in a post online.

The state uses statewide data to make recommendations about school openings/closures, said Jen Brestel, a spokeswoman for the Division of Public Health. The districts’ decisions come as the criteria for school reopening moved to the “red” phase in Kent County, but the closure was not mandated by the state.

In a post to his Facebook page Monday night, Gov. John Carney said that educators doing their part and following public health guidance is “why we’re not seeing spread of COVID-19 in schools – even as we continue to see increasing cases statewide,” noting that schools can – and are advised to – remain open to hybrid instruction. 

“For the first time today, the county level data on the school reopening dashboard showed Kent County with two red indicators,” he wrote. “Guided by experts at the Delaware Division of Public Health, we continue to advise all districts and charter schools to follow the statewide school reopening gating criteria, which indicates hybrid learning.” 

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