As Delaware families consider a safe return to school, Governor Carney and the Division of Public Health on Monday announced an update to Delaware’s face coverings guidance for children.
WILMINGTON (DE): All children who are in kindergarten or older must wear face coverings in public settings, including school buildings, according to the updated DPH guidance., according to a news release.
All children 2 years of age and older are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in public. Children younger than 2 must not wear face coverings due to suffocation risk. A child with a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe or a disability that prevents the child from wearing a face covering is not required to wear one., the release said.
The updated guidance will be included this week in a modification to Governor Carney’s State of Emergency order.
“The evidence could not be more clear that wearing face coverings is the best thing we can all do to keep our communities healthy,” said Governor Carney. “I know masks can be uncomfortable at times for children and adults. But if we stay vigilant and work together, we’ll continue to make real progress against this virus.”
The State of Delaware will not enforce mask use among children, but encourages parents to refer to materials from DPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for information on wearing face coverings properly, and the benefits of wearing a face covering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics are emphasizing now more than before that face coverings can be safely and easily worn by the vast majority of children,” saidDr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “Newer studies convey that all age groups are susceptible to infection. The good news is the most infections in the younger age group of 5 – 10 appear to be mild. And although spread from this age group to others appears low, it still may occur. Therefore, use of face coverings in this age group is an important measure that can help prevent that spread.”
Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed the 25th modification to his State of Emergency declaration, formalizing new face covering requirements for children. The modification also requires Delaware schools to notify families if they become aware of positive cases of COVID-19 in their schools.
“Delawareans are beating this virus and driving our numbers down. But if we hope to get more children and educators back in school, and more Delawareans back to work, we need to stay vigilant,” said Governor Carney. “Wear a face mask. Wash your hands frequently. Stay at least six feet away from others. Stay home if you’re sick. And – whether you have symptoms or you don’t – consider getting a test at de.gov/gettested.”
The modification also suspends formal observations under the DPAS II system until November 1, and directs the Department of Education to work with educators to develop a modified system for tracking student growth, taking into account the challenges of remote and hybrid learning. For the months of September and October, the Department of Education will work with districts, charters, and educators on informal observation strategies and ensure educators are receiving feedback and administrators are giving feedback in a new way given the challenges presented by hybrid and remote learning.