The recovery: Revised guidance for houses of worship; school reopening working groups formed

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Gov. John Carney on Monday issued updated guidance for houses of worship in Delaware.

The guidance – created in coordination with the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) and the Delaware Council of Faith-Based Partnerships – still encourages virtual services but expands the ability for churches and other houses of worship to conduct in-person services with restrictions.

While the state had advised against holding services, a ban never existing. Carney noted last week.

Gatherings should be limited to 30 percent of stated fire code occupancy, with social distancing

High-risk Delawareans, including those over 65-years-old, and anyone who is sick are advised against attending in-person services. Anyone 13-years-old or older must wear a face covering. Children 2-years-old and younger should not wear a face-covering due to the risk of suffocation.

Read Delaware’s full guidance for churches and other houses of worship.

“All of Delaware’s restrictions – including those inside our churches and other houses of worship – are intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Carney. “I know it’s difficult. Practicing your faith is a fundamental right. But Delawareans who are at higher risk should not attend in-person services. Do your best to practice your faith virtually. Wear a cloth face covering if you attend an in-person service. Remain at least six feet away from others. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Now’s not the time for Delawareans to let up.”

Sanitation and cleaning practices are also required.

School reopening working groups announced

Gov. John Carney and Secretary of Education Susan Bunting announced working groups that will plan for the reopening of Delaware school buildings.

Three COVID-19 School Reopening Working Groups will advise the Delaware Department of Education (DOE), Delaware school districts and charter schools on ways to safely and effectively reopen Delaware school buildings.

Last month, Carney closed Delaware public school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to the spread of COVID-19.

The working groups will focus on health and wellness, academics and equity, and operations and services.

Click here for a full list of working group members.

“We’re asking each working group to help the department develop a framework of essential actions that school district and charter school leaders should take to effectuate a safe return to school,” said Bunting. “These working groups also will help us reach out to our communities so that the ideas and concerns of Delawareans ground our work.These meetings will be open to the public, and I encourage participation across our state.”

The working groups, which include student representation and members of the General Assembly, will make final recommendations to the Department of Education in July. The working groups will continue to meet through September, or an alternate time period as set by Secretary Bunting.

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