Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) President Stephanie Ingram, recently issued a letter to Gov. John Carney, asking for increased guidance, oversight and accountability at the school-district level regarding school districts’ managerial and operational responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Delaware School Boards Association (DSBA), on behalf of its members, this week responded to the DSEA letter.

“We are all living in unprecedented times. We are endeavoring to manage our emotions and fears during this global pandemic. Everyone is exhausted and worried about the future. We are living in times that are redefining how we live, work, learn, worship and play.

“School board members, individually as well as their boards collectively, have the utmost respect and admiration for every member of their districts’ staff for their caring, dedication and positive attitudes during these difficult and trying times. The efforts of our educators, administrators, certified and non-certified support staff and our supporting contractors, all rising to the challenge to meet the needs of our students and families, have been truly amazing!

“School boards appreciate the guidance that has been provided by the Governor’s Office and the health professionals in his administration. It has greatly assisted school districts in providing in-person and remote instruction that meets the needs of each school community. School boards welcome any additional guidance as we learn more about the virus and how it is transmitted. We strongly support the governor’s recognition that school districts are directed and managed locally by their school boards, as statutorily established. We applaud the governor for respecting the fundamental doctrine of local school board control during this difficult time.

“To the best of our knowledge, personal protective equipment (PPE) has been and continues to be made available to all district staff. We encourage local education associations to continue to work with their administrative teams to address PPE issues.

“To increase safety and reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus in schools, recommended health and safety protective measures and protocols have been put in place. This is in addition to districts’ regular and continued use of the mitigation strategy of removing individuals from schools who are presumed to have been exposed, until the assurance of a negative test. In fact, the state Division of Public Health (DPH) has acknowledged that transmission is highly unlikely in schools and community spread is most likely occurring outside of schools.

“Working collaboratively with our DSEA partners is the best way for the Delaware educational community to manage our way through COVID-19. School boards continue to stand ready and willing to work participatively with all stakeholders as we collectively ‘learn our way’ through this pandemic,” they said.