Sussex Academy moves to remote instruction through Dec. 4

GEORGETOWN — Sussex Academy will move to full remote instruction for the remainder of this week, and stay that way until at least early December, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the community and the state.  

“We can only expect that the number of cases that will impact our ability to provide in-person instruction will continue to rise,” a letter sent to families Tuesday states. 

The closure will take families through Thanksgiving break, which runs Nov. 23 to Nov. 27, and continue through Dec. 4 to “allow families to monitor their health and the situation within the local communities.”

The charter plans to return to hybrid Dec. 7. Officials added in the letter that SAAS is “committed to completing the fall sports season as long as the State of Delaware and DIAA permits events to occur.”

“We are proud of our staff and students for their diligence in following our protocols, and we believe this has played a huge part in preventing any spread within our schools,” the letter states. “We have been able to complete 9 full weeks of school that has included in-person instruction for over 800 of our students. While we have had students test positive for COVID-19, all of the cases have been traced to contact in the household; none of our cases have been connected to contact within school. The efforts of our students and staff allowed us to successfully implement our reopening plan under these difficult times.”

The impending closure of Sussex Academy follows numerous others in the state, as Gov. John Carney even tightened up restrictions statewide Tuesday following an increase in COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, data released by the state showed one of the reopening schools categories — new cases per 100,000 — firmly in the “red,” meaning there was significant community spread of the virus. 

Laurel closed all of its schools this week through Thanksgiving break after numerous positive cases. Milford closed three of its schools Monday; two reopened Tuesday but the high school remains hybrid as the district works with the Division of Public Health. 

Meanwhile, officials at DPH said when positive cases occur in school, the cases typically weren’t transmitted or contracted in the building.

“After our epidemiological investigation, it’s very unlikely that these positive cases are resulting from transmission within schools,” said Dr. Rick Hong, medical director for DPH. “Again, that’s why it’s so important for families that they maintain these infection control measures outside of the school setting.”