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.

###

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.


Delaware High School Students Named “National Cyber Scholars”

30,000 Students Across the Country Sought to Qualify for Cybersecurity Competition hosted by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation

 

Wilmington, Del. — Delaware’s Governor John Carney, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting, and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jason Clarke today announced that four of Delaware’s most promising high school students have earned the coveted title of “National Cyber Scholar” after winning the rigorous 48-hour competition designed to evaluate aptitude in combating cyber threats, and showcasing the best of what the First State’s schools have to offer as part of CyberStart America. Winners included Kelsey Mulrooney, Molly Shapiro and Annamarie Warnke from Padua Academy and Albert Opher from Sanford School.  At the college level, Kirolos Boghdady from the University of Delaware and Evan Timko from Delaware State University ranked highest in Delaware and won scholarship awards. This is the fifth year Delaware has participated, with over 400 students taking part during this round. Overall, Delaware had 39 semifinalists, 7 finalists, and the final 4 Cyber Scholars that ranked high in the competition. Please see the complete list of Delaware’s winners here.

Over 30,000 high school students across the country sought to qualify for this year’s CyberStart America competition, and only 5,000 advanced to the first round. Of those students, only 600 nationwide performed well enough to earn the title “National Cyber Scholars.” These students each won a $2,500 scholarship and an invitation to participate in the Cyber Foundations Academy, a multi-week training and certification course.

“Providing our young people with the opportunity to learn about the high-tech, high-impact of the field cybersecurity is extremely important given the cyber threats that persist in digital world we live in today,” said Governor John Carney. “Congratulations to the National Cyber Scholars and to all the students who participated, and a special thank you to the SANS Institute for continuing to sponsor this incredible program.”

“Congratulations to the four Delaware winners and to all of the students who participated in this year’s competition. This type of opportunity allows students to hone valuable and highly marketable skills that will serve them well after graduation,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.

“Delaware, like other states across the nation, needs trained cyber security specialists and it is encouraging to see so many young people take up this challenge and their interest in this field,” noted CIO Jason Clarke. “We hope they are able to discover a passion for technology and continue to develop their skills.”

Cybersecurity is a critical issue facing this country with the potential to impact our nation’s government, defense, communications and financial systems. According to recent studies, in order to properly defend our infrastructure from attack, we need to train more than 3 million cybersecurity professionals. This scholarship and competition are designed to attract and incentivize more students to enter the field.

“Competing in the Girls Go Cyberstart and Cyberstart America competitions have been incredibly rewarding experiences for me,” said Padua student Molly Shapiro. “I started my first competition in 2018 with no knowledge of cybersecurity and finished my final competition this year with the confidence to pursue a degree in cybersecurity. These competitions allowed me to realize and chase my passion for cybersecurity and have given me the skills and preparation I need to eventually enter the industry as a cybersecurity professional.”

“This scholarship recognizes high school students who have demonstrated exceptional cybersecurity talent,” noted David Brown, executive director, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. “The NCSF mission is to help close the critical cybersecurity skills gap by identifying and developing the next generation of cyber professionals. Each and every student who participated in this competition has the potential to develop their skills and build a successful career in cybersecurity.”

There are several qualification pathways for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition including CyberStart America, a free online program that helps students discover their interest in cybersecurity and develop their talent and skills. The NCSC offers 600 college scholarships to top-ranking competitors. Additionally, National Cyber Scholars, along with the competition’s 1,000 finalists, are invited to participate in the Cyber Foundations Academy. To learn more visit: National Cyber Scholarship Foundation.

Delaware’s National Cyber Scholars will also be recognized during the annual Secure Delaware workshop on October 28. This event will be held both virtually and in-person at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.

###

 

About the Delaware Department of Technology and Information

The Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is the state’s central IT organization, chartered to deliver core services to other state organizations and exercise governance over the technology direction and investments of the state. DTI provides enterprise services that enable other organizations to effectively fulfill their missions.

About the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF)

The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF) is a national nonprofit whose mission is to identify, nurture and empower the next generation of cybersecurity experts; and eliminate the cybersecurity skills gap in the United States. NCSF aims to support the entry of thousands of talented students to the cybersecurity industry by providing enrichment opportunities, world-class training, and scholarships to fund degree-level study.

About CyberStart America

CyberStart America is a free national program for high school students, aiming to uncover hidden cyber talents, and to identify and develop the next generation of cyber superstars. CyberStart’s immersive gamified learning platform can take students from zero cybersecurity knowledge to possessing the skills necessary to compete in a national-level Capture the Flag challenge in a matter of weeks. Students new to the field with a strong aptitude, as well as students with existing interest in the field, can use the platform to train and qualify for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition, allowing them to compete for life-changing college scholarship opportunities.


Delaware Launches Free CyberStart America Challenge

National online cybersecurity talent search and competition open to all Delaware high school students


Dover
 – Governor John Carney today announced Delaware’s participation in CyberStart America – an innovative, online cybersecurity talent search and competition sponsored by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and SANS Institute. Delaware’s high school students are encouraged to explore their aptitude for cybersecurity and computer science by participating in the program and will have the opportunity to win scholarships, as well as prizes and recognition for their schools.

The CyberStart America program is a series of 100% online challenges that allow students to act as cyber protection agents, solving cybersecurity-related puzzles and explore related topics such as code breaking, programming, networking, and digital forensics. The program can be assigned as part of homework, can form the basis of an extracurricular club, or students can just try it on their own. Participating students and their teachers do not need knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to take part. Everything they need can be learned in the game. The program is free for schools and students, and all Delaware students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate. Building on the success of last year’s Girls Go CyberStart program, this year’s CyberStart Game is open to all high school students. Anyone who reaches level 5 in Game will qualify for the national competition to win scholarships. To further encourage participation of young women and JROTC cadets, communities are offering additional support and community-specific awards within the overall scholarship competition.

“This is a great program that builds on our statewide efforts to provide students with real-world experience and technology skills that will be valuable in any career,” said Governor John Carney. “These competitions offer fun activities for young people to explore and learn about the high-tech, high-impact field of cybersecurity.”

“CyberStart is a great way empower and inspire young people to pursue STEM fields including cybersecurity,” said Acting Chief Information Officer Jason Clarke. “In a pilot of the program last year we had over 180 students participate and 16 succeeded in reaching the national finals. This year we hope to triple the number of students participating and reaching the scholarship round.”

“The CyberStart challenge is both a fun and educational experience that gives students the chance to engage in lively hands-on learning and the opportunity to earn valuable college scholarships. We hope even more students will participate in the challenge this year,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.

The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation anticipates awarding scholarships worth a total of $2 million for use at any accredited college to 600 high-scoring students across the nation who participate in the competition in 2021, with students able to compete for state-specific and community-specific prizes as well as national championship status. There will also be incentives for Delaware high schools to encourage more students to reach the qualifying level in CyberStart Game, including exclusive access to additional cybersecurity education resources and recognized cyber skills mastery badges for their students.

Complete details may be found at www.cyberstartamerica.org. High school students may register for the program beginning October 30 and may begin playing the CyberStart Game at 12:00 AM EST, November 15. They may continue playing, and invite their friends to join them, through February 28, 2021. Students will be informed that they qualify for the CyberStart National Scholarship Challenge Round (the “Nationals”) as soon as they have achieved sufficient progress, but they are allowed to continue playing and learning in order to build more skills that will be useful to them in the Nationals. To see the types of challenges students will face in the games, visit https://go.cyberstart.com.

Participating students and schools are encouraged to share updates on social media with #cyberstartDE.

###

About the Delaware Department of Technology and Information

The Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is the state’s central IT organization, chartered to deliver core services to other state organizations and exercise governance over the technology direction and investments of the state. DTI provides enterprise services that enable other organizations to effectively fulfill their missions.

www.dti.delaware.gov

www.digiknow.dti.delaware.gov


About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS provides cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 50 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community.

https://www.sans.org

 


First Lady, Delaware Readiness Teams to Kick Off Kindergarten Registration Campaign

Kindergarten Registration Month launched last year in partnership with First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney

DOVER, Del. – First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney and the Delaware Readiness Teams will kick off Delaware’s second statewide kindergarten registration campaign at a special event on October 18 at the Dover Public Library.

In the weeks that follow, the Delaware Readiness Teams will host over 20 events at local libraries, schools, and childcare centers around the state to encourage families and caregivers to register students for kindergarten and help guide them through the process. The events – a mix of information sessions and resources fairs – will feature the Delaware Readiness Teams’ signature Kindergarten Registration folders, family activities, and free books.

Kindergarten Registration Month launched last year in partnership with First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney.

Click here for a full list of resources and 2019 event details.

“I am proud to be a partner in Kindergarten Registration Month,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “Parents everywhere – myself included – know that navigating the registration process can be complicated, but we’re here to help. Registering as early as possible is one way that parents can set their young ones up for success.”

“We know that starting kindergarten on time is important in helping children get off on the right track,” said Diane Frentzel, program manager for Delaware Readiness Teams. “That’s why the Delaware Readiness Teams are working diligently in communities getting the right information in the hands of families and providers.”

All three counties will host family engagement events throughout Kindergarten Registration Month this November. Families and caregivers of children who will be five years old by August 31 are encouraged to register their student for kindergarten as soon as possible.

ABOUT THE DELAWARE READINESS TEAMS

The Delaware Readiness Teams are a statewide grassroots initiative aimed at helping children from birth through age eight get ready for school and life. The teams focus on early learning, healthy children, and successful transitions, hoping every child will enter school ready and eager to learn.

###


State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner, Jr. releases the Providence Creek Academy Charter School Inspection report.

January 27, 2016

Dover, Del. – State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner, Jr.’s Office performed an inspection of the Providence Creek Academy Charter School (PCA) regarding allegations of fiscal improprieties. Several months after AOA received its first tip on the fraud hotline, representatives from PCA met with AOA staff to share their concerns regarding inappropriate handling of school funds by Shanna Simmens, the former Finance and Human Resource Manager. AOA found PCA’s deficient fiscal operations and close network of personnel led to a misuse of school funds.

“Our inspection identified over $247,000 in various personal purchases, unsupported transactions, and non-compliance from July 1, 2011 through December 31, 2014,” said Wagner.

There was no mention of any issues by the PCA’s audit firm, SB & Company, LLC, that issued unqualified opinions with no findings on internal control or compliance over financial reporting for fiscal years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Additional information about the report can be found at: Providence Creek Academy Charter School Inspection report.

For more information, please contact Kathleen A. Davies, CPA-PA, CISA, CGFM, CGAP, CFE, Chief Administrative Auditor/Deputy, at 302-857-3919 or kathleen.davies@delaware.gov.