DOVER, DE (April 14, 2022) – Spring break for most Delaware schools will occur the week of April 18. The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) and the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) are strongly encouraging families to test students for COVID-19 before their return to school following spring break using either over-the-counter (OTC) test kits or visiting a convenient testing location. With the lifting of certain COVID-19 restrictions and mandates, many individuals are once again holding family gatherings or have scheduled travel plans this year. Since you never know if the people around you might be positive for COVID-19 even without showing any symptoms, the best way to know your status and to keep classmates and teachers safe is to test the day before you return to school. This is especially true as Delaware starts to see a slight increase in COVID-19 cases.
DPH distributed approximately 190,000 OTC test kits to school districts, charter schools, and private/parochial schools this month. While some schools may choose to keep them for in-school testing purposes, others may choose to distribute them to families to make it easier for students to test before their return to school after the break.
Other convenient testing options include ordering free at-home COVID-19 test kits (four to five tests in a kit) from the federal government at covidtests.gov purchasing them from pharmacies, or finding a testing site near you atde.gov/gettested
“We’re pleased to partner with the Department of Education and school districts statewide to offer families peace of mind and a way for parents to know their child’s COVID-19 status before they go back to school at the end of this month,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.
“Our educators, students and families are grateful that, after two years of intermittent remote learning and quarantines, having everyone back in our buildings full time has made this spring feel more like a ‘typical’ school year,” Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said. “As families and staff travel over the break, I encourage everyone to continue mitigation strategies to reduce their risk of exposure and to test themselves before they return to school. This will help us finish this school year in the face-to-face instruction we are so happy to have back.”
In addition to testing before returning to school, families are encouraged to seek testing for their children when a student has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, has COVID-19 symptoms, or wishes to know their status before spending time with a person who is vulnerable to COVID-19 (e.g., immunocompromised, elderly, or unvaccinated).
Spring break also is a great time to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations for those who have not yet received their first or second dose or a booster when eligible.
“Cases have slightly increased over the last week. We know COVID is not over,” said Dr. Rattay. “Right now is actually the perfect time to make sure everyone is up to date on their vaccines to protect themselves and their community.”
Keep these four simple tips in mind as your anytime COVID prevention toolkit:
- Get vaccinated (including getting your booster) when eligible.
- Wear a mask in areas of high COVID-19 transmission. Use the CDC’s Tool for identifying COVID-19 transmission levels. Also consider wearing a mask around others if you are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or around people who are.
- Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID, or weekly if you are not up to date on your vaccines.
- Stay home from work or school when sick.
Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.