Delaware,Capitol,Building,In,Daylight

The Delaware Capitol Building in Dover.

(The Center Square) – Gov. John Carney officially extended the Delaware's school mask mandate last month, and the state has released regulations pertaining to masking.

In a news release, the governor announced that working in partnership with the state’s Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), the emergency mask mandate has been extended in public and private K-12 schools until Feb. 8, 2022.

The governor formally announced a mask mandate would be extended in November, and the state has released regulations pertaining to the mandate.

DHSS and DOE regulations, effective Dec. 14, recommends masks for children ages 2 through pre-kindergarten in child care settings. Masks must be worn by K-12 children, as well as staff, family members, and visitors inside child care facilities, regardless of vaccination status.

However, masks are not required when children are seated at a table to eat or drink, when sleeping, or engaged in activities where a mask isn’t feasible, are in an office alone, outdoors, or when children are not in the building. Masks are recommended on school buses for children ages 2 to pre-K, and for all students in grades K-12, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Carney urged Delaware children to get the vaccine, “which should go a long way in protecting the health of students, educators, and school communities statewide.”

“But that’s only possible if Delawareans get the vaccine,” Carney said in the release. “We are seeing a concerning increase in cases and hospitalizations statewide as the weather gets colder. Improving our vaccination rates among children and adults is how we’ll move past this pandemic. These vaccines are free, safe, and extremely protective against serious illness from COVID-19. Getting the shot will keep Delaware’s children protected. And it will keep them in their classrooms learning.”

Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the state’s Division of Public Health, said the vaccine is “safe, effective, and now available to everyone ages 5 and older in Delaware.”

“We know from the data that this vaccine does a great job protecting children from the COVID-19 virus and serious illness,” Dr. Rattay said in the release. “Getting the COVID vaccine will also keep Delaware children in school, and prevent quarantines in the event of an exposure to the virus. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the vaccine and visit de.gov/getmyvaccine for more information.”

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.