Based on a review of COVID-19 data in Delaware, Gov. John Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced on Aug. 4 that Delaware schools may open under a hybrid scenario next month, with a mix of in-person and remote instruction and significant safety precautions to limit transmission of COVID-19.

Delaware is currently experiencing minimal to moderate spread of COVID-19 under gating criteria established by DPH, which includes a review of weekly cases, percent positivity, and average daily hospitalizations.

Three school reopening working groups created the green/yellow/red framework to reopen schools safely in Delaware. Last month, the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) also released guidance to assist district and charter leaders in safely reopening schools, including guidance on social distancing in schools, mask wearing, and transportation concerns.

School reopening criteria and other Delaware COVID-19 data has been posted online (http://de.gov/healthycommunity).

A list of FAQs about safe school reopening in Delaware is also online.

“Safely reopening schools for Delaware children — especially our youngest learners and disadvantaged children who need in-person instruction the most — is the most important and difficult issue we’ll face as we continue to confront this COVID-19 crisis,” said Carney.

“Our public health team will continue to work closely with district and school leaders to get this right. Hybrid learning may look different across each district, charter or private school. But one thing is clear: the safety of all of Delaware’s students, educators and staff will be our top priority. We can’t get students back to school if we can’t do so safely,” Carney added. “This is a science-based approach, and I want to thank everyone who participated in our working groups and put so much thought into this effort.”

Working with district and school leaders, the State of Delaware will provide free COVID-19 testing for educators and staff before the school year begins and in regular intervals following school reopening, using an at-home testing option. Community testing sites geared toward students will be set up at schools throughout the state in the weeks before schools open.

“We are committed to ensuring student, educator and staff safety as we navigate reopening schools,” said Dr. Rick Hong, DPH medical director. “We will continue to monitor the data closely to identify trends and provide schools with the best guidance possible based on that data.”

“Since school buildings closed in March, we have been working to return our children and educators to their classrooms as soon as we are able to safely and effectively do so,” said Susan Bunting, secretary of education. “We will continue to support districts and charters as they design and implement their local plans under the hybrid model.”

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

Report violations of COVID-19 restrictions by emailing HSPContact@delaware.gov.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, visit de.gov/coronavirus.