State officials urge schools to return to hybrid learning

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On Tuesday, Governor John Carney, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) urged Delaware schools to return to hybrid instruction – a mix of remote and in-person learning – on Mon. January 11.

Governor Carney signed Tuesday’s letter with Dr. Karyl Rattay, the director of Public Health, and Dr. Susan Bunting, the Secretary of Education. The letter urges schools to return to full hybrid instruction on Monday and prioritize younger and more vulnerable students for in-person learning if operational challenges continue.

Read the full letter to school leaders, educators, and parents.

“As we have said many times, we do not believe there is a public health reason to close schools,” said Governor Carney, Dr. Rattay, and Secretary Bunting, in Tuesday’s letter. “We have spent the past four weeks helping schools try to address the operational challenges they are experiencing. And we can all agree that students learn best when they’re in school. For all of these reasons, we are recommending that districts and schools make every effort to return to hybrid learning on January 11.”

Also, on Tuesday, the Delaware Division of Public Health launched a new, schools-focused Covid-19 dashboard. The dashboard will track the number of contagious cases among Delaware school staff and students and offer a more detailed picture of COVID-19 infection in school buildings. Click here for the dashboard.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of students, educators, and staff that the number of Covid-positive students and staff is so low,” wrote Carney, Rattay, and Bunting. “Moreover, data from our epidemiologists shows that the vast majority of cases affecting students and staff originated outside of the school building. The few cases thought to result from in-school spread are frequently observed to be in settings where mask-wearing was not consistently practiced.” One example cited in the past involved faculty and staff sitting down together for lunch.

The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened income disparities in education. More affluent parents opting for in-class instruction in private schools and public schools see lower enrollments due to issues such as lack of online access and the inability of some students to learn remotely.

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