Del. coronavirus recovery: Return to school decision coming next week

Delaware parents will have to wait until August to learn how the state plans to restart schools. (AP Photo/Suchat Pederson)

Delaware parents will have to wait until August to learn how the state plans to restart schools. (AP Photo/Suchat Pederson)

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As of Tuesday, Delaware has reported 14,476 cases, an increase of 66 from yesterday. There have been 580 deaths, an increase of one from Monday. The state’s percentage of people who tested positive was up slightly to 4.2%.

Gov. John Carney said Delaware schools would likely reopen with a hybrid of online learning and in-person education. The decision is expected to come next week based on where the state’s numbers are in seven days. The state has three scenarios for schools depending on the severity of the virus. Under the green scenario, schools will open for in-person learning as usual. The yellow scenario calls for a mix of in-person and online learning, while the red scenario is all online.

“If I had to predict, we’d be in yellow a week from now, but we will make that judgment then,” Carney said in his weekly Coronavirus news conference. “We want the data to be as current as possible, but giving districts enough time to react thoughtfully, so it’s a balance that needs to be struck.”

To reach the green scenario, two of three categories have to fall within the state’s parameters. The state’s new cases per 100,000 people has to be below 10. Right now, Delaware is around 70 cases per 100,000 residents. The second criteria calls for the percentage of persons testing positive has to be 3% or below. Delaware’s percentage is at 4.2%. The only category in the green is the state’s average hospitalization rate which has been under 10 per 100,000 since mid-June.

“We’ve been in this kind of interim period for weeks now,” Carney said. “Not as good as we want to be, but not as bad as some of the other states that are in bad shape.”

He said the state’s middling status has led to Delaware residents being forced to quarantine for 14 days upon visiting places like New Jersey. This week, Washington, D.C. added Delaware to its mandatory quarantine list.

Carney said he talked again with NJ Gov. Phil Murphy about changing what he called Delaware’s “unfair” status on that list. But he urged Delawareans to take charge of improving the state’s numbers which will ultimately get Delaware off those lists by wearing masks, keeping social distance, and washing hands frequently.

“Most people are following all of these, and increasingly I see more people wearing masks, and I would just ask everybody else to put a mask on when you’re in public, and you’re going to help the cause.”

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