Diocese of Wilmington schools in Delaware will follow the mask mandate issued by the state Aug. 10, according to Lou De Angelo, superintendent of Catholic schools in the diocese.
Gov. John Carney on Tuesday announced that everyone kindergarten-age and older in K-12 schools and child care homes and centers must wear face coverings indoors effective Aug. 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, according to the governor’s office.
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, Carney said. Children younger than 12 remain ineligible for COVID-19 vaccination at this time.
De Angelo said information regarding Maryland schools will be communicated later in the week. The Diocese of Wilmington has schools in both states.
As of Aug. 9, 73.7 percent of Delaware adults, and 71.6 percent of those 12 and older, have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit de.gov/getmyvaccine to find a free COVID-19 vaccination provider near you.
“There’s no higher priority than getting all Delaware children back in their classrooms full-time this fall,” Carney said. “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.”
Carney also announced Tuesday that state employees and visitors to Delaware state facilities must wear masks indoors, consistent with CDC guidance, starting Aug. 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.