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Carney announces mask requirement in schools

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WILMINGTON – Governor John Carney on Tuesday, Aug. 10, announced that everyone kindergarten-age and older in K-12 schools and child care homes and centers must wear face coverings indoors effective on Monday, August 16 – regardless of vaccination status. The requirement covers both public and private schools in Delaware. Child care centers and homes are strongly encouraged to require masks for children 2 years old to kindergarten inside their facilities to prevent spread of COVID-19. Children younger than 2 years old should not wear masks due to risk of suffocation.

Gov. John Carney announces everyone over 5 in K-12 schools must wear a mask indoors. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

The statewide mask requirement in schools, which will be formalized later this week, is consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and will help all Delaware students safely return to classrooms full-time this fall for the 2021-2022 school year. Children younger than 12 remain ineligible for COVID-19 vaccination at this time. ​

“There’s no higher priority than getting all Delaware children back in their classrooms full-time this fall,” said Governor Carney in a statement to press. “This consistent, statewide approach will help students, educators and staff return to school safely and without disruption. Vaccination remains the best way to finally put an end to this pandemic. These COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, and highly effective against COVID-19 infection and serious illness. If you haven’t gotten your vaccine, consider it. Talk to your doctor and your friends who have received their shot. That’s how we’ll keep students in classrooms and keep moving forward.”

Additionally,  Carney announced that state employees and visitors to Delaware state facilities must wear masks indoors, consistent with CDC guidance, starting Monday, August 16. This applies to all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status. Additional requirements around vaccination and testing for state employees and others are expected to be announced in the coming days.

Carney also formally extended the Public Health Emergency order in place to allow the State of Delaware and medical providers to continue COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs. Under Delaware law, Public Health Emergency declarations must be renewed every 30 days.

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