DPH And DOE Encourage Students To Test For COVID-19 Before Returning To School After Spring Break

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 at de.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.

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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.


Governor Carney Announces Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR) Public Meetings

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney on Friday announced the State of Delaware will host Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR) public meetings in each county as part of an ongoing review of state regulations. Governor Carney and members of his cabinet will host the meetings, and accept public comment on ways to improve state government and the delivery of state services.

The Delaware Departments of Labor; Health and Social Services; Education; Natural Resources and Environmental Control; and Transportation will be among the agencies participating. State of Delaware constituent relations staff also will be available to assist Delawareans with questions or concerns. 

“Since taking office, I have talked to Delawareans about our commitment to operating our state government as efficiently and effectively as possible – so we can focus on investing taxpayer dollars where they are needed most,” said Governor Carney. “These GEAR public meetings are another chance for us to hear directly from Delawareans on how we can improve our state government – and strengthen our work around education, public health, workforce training, and social service delivery. Members of our GEAR team have done important work to identify statewide improvements, and we are going on the road to hear directly from Delawareans about their priorities.”

Governor Carney established GEAR by Executive Order in February 2017 to identify ways for state government to operate more efficiently, and improve the delivery of state services for Delaware families.

A review of state regulations is required every four years by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The following executive branch agencies of the State of Delaware are accepting public comments: 

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Health and Social Services
  • Department of Human Resources
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
  • Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Office of Management and Budget

Members of the public who would like to provide comments regarding state rules and regulations can submit comments online, by email, or by mail:

                       GEAR – Attn: James Myran
                       Carvel State Office Building
                       820 North French Street, 8th Floor, Office 813
                       Wilmington, Delaware 19801

 

Kent County – GEAR Town Hall

WHAT:          Governor John Carney and state agencies will host a GEAR Town Hall to accept public comment on which state regulations should be modified or eliminated.

WHO:             Governor John Carney

                        Secretary Rick Geisenberger, Delaware Department of Finance

                        James Myran, Executive Director, Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR)

                        Members of Governor Carney’s Cabinet

                        State Senator Trey Paradee

                        State Representative Bill Bush

                        State Representative Lyndon Yearick

                        Representatives from State of Delaware Agencies

WHEN:          Thursday, March 19, 2020

                        6:00 p.m.

WHERE:        Wilmington University, Dover Campus

                        Building A Auditorium

                        3282 N DuPont Highway

                        Dover, DE 19901

 

 

Sussex County – GEAR Town Hall

WHAT:          Governor John Carney and state agencies will host a GEAR Town Hall to accept public comment on which state regulations should be modified or eliminated.

WHO:             Governor John Carney

                        Secretary Rick Geisenberger, Delaware Department of Finance

                        James Myran, Executive Director, Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR)

                        Members of Governor Carney’s Cabinet

                        State Senator Brian Pettyjohn

                        State Senator David Wilson

                        State Senator Gerald Hocker

                        State Representative Ruth Briggs King

                        State Representative Daniel Short

                        State Representative Ronald Gray

                        State Representative Tim Dukes

                        State Representative Stephen Smyk

                        Representatives from State of Delaware Agencies

WHEN:          Tuesday, March 24, 2020

                        6:30 p.m.

WHERE:       Delaware Technical & Community College

                        Owens Campus – Arts and Science Center Theater

                        21179 College Drive

                        Georgetown, DE 19947

 

 

New Castle County – GEAR Town Hall

WHAT:          Governor John Carney and state agencies will host a GEAR Town Hall to accept public comment on which state regulations should be modified or eliminated.

WHO:             Governor John Carney

                        Secretary Rick Geisenberger, Delaware Department of Finance

                        James Myran, Executive Director, Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR)

                        Members of Governor Carney’s Cabinet

                        State Senator Darius Brown

                        State Representative Kendra Johnson

                        Representatives from State of Delaware Agencies

WHEN:          Monday, March 30, 2020

                        6:00 p.m.

WHERE:       Route 9 Library & Innovation Center

                        Black Box Theater and Multipurpose Room A

                        3022 New Castle Avenue

                        New Caste, DE 19720

 

 

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Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting Announce Establishment of Teachers Advisory Council

Council will gather feedback from educators statewide, increase the voice of teachers in policy decisions

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, announced on Tuesday the establishment of a new Teachers Advisory Council to gather the feedback of educators from across the state.

Secretary Bunting invited two teachers from each of the state’s 19 school districts and six charter school educators to join the group, which will facilitate communication, contribute to solutions, and help increase the voice of teachers in policy decisions. The group will meet bi-monthly to discuss a variety of issues affecting teachers.

“Educators work on the front lines helping prepare Delaware’s children for the future,” said Governor Carney. “We are committed to transforming the Department into a true support agency to help schools and educators better serve their students. This new advisory council will help ensure that we are listening to educators every step of the way as we make policy decisions that affect the classroom. Thank you to the educators who are participating, and Dr. Bunting and our team at the Department of Education for convening this group.”

“This is an opportunity for me to hear directly from those who work closest with our children and often feel the most direct effects of our policy decisions,” said Secretary Bunting.

Teachers participating on the new advisory council were recommended by their superintendents or the Delaware Charter School Network for the voluntary role. Secretary Bunting has asked each to share his or her personal feelings as an individual rather than serve as a representative of a district or charter school’s position on an issue.

This group is in addition to the Teacher of the Year Advisory Council, which Secretary Bunting also meets with bi-monthly.

 

Educators participating in the new advisory council include:
  • Kristyn Bradford of Lake Forest North Elementary in Lake Forest School District
  • Seth Buford of Milford High School in Milford School District
    Shorel Clark of Brittingham Elementary School in Cape Henlopen School District
  • Marisa Clarke of Central Elementary in Seaford School District
  • Guy Cooper of Providence Creek Academy charter school
  • Luke Crossan of Waters Middle School in Appoquinimink School District
  • Todd Cushman of Delmar Middle School in Delmar School District
  • Chelsea Darczuk of East Side Charter School
  • Robert Edmondson of Seaford Middle School in Seaford School District
  • Catherine (Katy) Evans of Sunnyside Elementary School in the Smyrna School District
  • Christina Gallo of Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest School District
  • Shelby Gordon of Bunker Hill Elementary School in Appoquinimink School District
  • Emily Green of Caesar Rodney High School in Caesar Rodney School District
  • Robert Harrod of Cape Henlopen High School in Cape Henlopen School District
  • Matt Hoopes of Concord High School in Brandywine School District
  • Shelley Hovanec of Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center in Woodbridge School District
  • Michelle Howard of Delmar High School in Delmar School District
  • Lesley Louder of Dover High School in Capital School District
  • Tina Lykens of POLYTECH High School in POLYTECH School District
  • Jennifer MacDonald of Smyrna High School in Smyrna School District
  • Nathalie Melvin of South Dover Elementary School in Capital School District
  • Phyllis Mobley of Harlan Elementary School in Brandywine School District
  • Elaine Norris of Mispillion Elementary School in Milford School District
  • Petra Palmer of Delcastle High School in New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
  • Michael Paoli of Hodgson High School in New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
  • Sarah Polaski of Christiana Middle School Academy in Christina School District
  • Moraima Reardon of Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge School District
  • Lisa Richardson of Millsboro Middle School in Indian River School District
  • Matthew Sabol of William Penn High School in Colonial School District
  • Dara Savage of Early College High School charter school
  • Cameron Sweeney of POLYTECH High School in POLYTECH School District
  • Crystal Thawley of Sussex Technical High School in Sussex Technical School District
  • Elizabeth Van Aulen of Wilson Elementary School in Christina School District
  • Anthony Varrato of Sussex Technical High School of Sussex Technical School District
  • Kim Weber of Welch Elementary in Caesar Rodney School District
  • Leigh Weldin of Conrad School of Sciences in Red Clay Consolidated School District
  • Karen Willey of Sussex Academy charter school
  • Jill Young of Lord Baltimore Elementary in Indian River School District
  • Stacie Zdrojewski of Red Clay Consolidated School District Office

The Teacher Advisory Council will meet on Tuesday, March 27th from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Collette Education Resource Center Conference Room, 35 Commerce Way, Suite 1, Dover.

Related news:

Legislation Offers Student Loan Relief for Educators in High-Needs Areas


Governor Carney’s Statement on Smarter Balanced Assessment Results

WILMINGTON, Del.Governor John Carney released the following statement on the preliminary results of the 2017 administration of the Smarter Balanced assessment announced on Thursday by the Delaware Department of Education:

“With the help of educators across our state, more Delaware students are making real progress and are on the path to long-term success. There are bright spots in this data, and many schools have made notable gains. It’s clear that teachers and school leaders are making a real difference in the lives of kids across Delaware.

But the difficult truth remains that too many of our students in the City of Wilmington – our largest city and the economic and cultural engine of our state – are being left behind. That is something that we cannot allow to continue. We must do more to help our most disadvantaged students – those affected by poverty, stress, and trauma. As I have already made clear, I will continue to engage with stakeholders across Wilmington and statewide, and I intend to take real action to address this issue.”


Governor Carney Launches Opportunity Grant Program to Support Disadvantaged Delaware Students

School districts, charter schools can apply for $1 million in new funding

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Tuesday that Delaware schools can now apply for $1 million in special funding to improve supports for low-income students, students chronically exposed to stress and trauma, and English language learners.

The new Opportunity Grant program – created and funded by Governor Carney and members of the General Assembly in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget – will help Delaware identify and incentivize schools with proven strategies for helping disadvantaged students succeed in the classroom.

Through September 5, school districts and charter schools can apply for up to 10 competitive Opportunity Grants through the Delaware Department of Education. Schools may receive a maximum of $350,000 in funding to support programs in the 2017-2018 school year.

“We have students in Wilmington and across our state who are affected by significant amounts of trauma and stress in their lives, and we have to do more to support them, help them thrive in school, and prepare them for long-term success,” said Governor Carney. “That’s what this new program is about – providing effective support for Delaware students who need it most. These grants provide additional flexibility for schools serving disadvantaged students, with the expectation that results and successful practices will be shared across schools serving a similar population. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for helping us create this program, and for their leadership on this issue.”

Governor Carney pledged last week that he would take decisive action over the next year to address Delaware’s achievement gap, and he has made it a priority to support disadvantaged students in Wilmington and across the state.

Earlier this month, the Governor announced that Dorrell Green, a longtime Wilmington educator, would lead a new Wilmington-based office to support teachers and students in Wilmington’s neediest schools, and in schools serving at-risk students statewide.

The new Opportunity Grant program will specifically provide additional funding for:

  • Integrated student services and trauma-informed supports to low-income students based on their needs, or;
  • Additional supports to low-income and English language learner students.

In considering applications for funding, the Department of Education will give preference to school-level initiatives, rather than broader district or organizational programs. Grant applicants must outline a detailed plan for how funds will be used – and grant recipients will be required to provide information on the outcome of the support, in an effort to showcase what is working.

“We know those educators who work most closely with our children know best what supports are needed for their children and community,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “This is a chance for local leaders to design programs and supports that meet those needs and for us to learn from their work to better support other children in our state with similar challenges.”

Grant awards will be announced in September. Superintendents will meet next week with Secretary Bunting, and will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the grant process.

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Governor Carney Vetoes 5-Mile Radius Legislation that Limits Options for Wilmington Students
Governor Carney Directs DOE to Create Regulation, Model Policy to Prevent Discrimination in Schools
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Opportunity Grants