Governor John Carney on Monday announced that he will sign an order terminating the COVID-19 State of Emergency and the masking requirement in public and private K-12 schools and child care facilities effective at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1.
The announcement is consistent with new masking guidance issued on Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Masking will not be required by the State of Delaware in K-12 schools, on school buses, or in child care facilities after 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1.
The Delaware Department of Education (DOE) and the Division of Public Health (DPH) have issued updated guidance to district and school leaders to aid response efforts following the expiration of the mask requirement.
Governor Carney also announced that vaccine or testing requirements for educators and state employees will expire at 11:59 p.m. today, Monday, February 28.
The mask requirement in most State facilities will also be lifted starting on Wednesday, March 2. Additional guidance for state employees will be issued on Monday by the Department of Human Resources (DHR).
“There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about where we’re headed,” said Governor Carney. “Over the last month, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have fallen dramatically, and we are clearly moving into a new phase of this pandemic. Today’s announcement is consistent with new guidance from the CDC. And it’s consistent with the latest thinking from Delaware’s experts at the Division of Public Health. Delawareans who want to continue wearing a mask – including children in our schools – should be supported and encouraged to do so, even as we move into this new phase. We’ll also continue to encourage all eligible Delawareans to get up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.”
On Tuesday, the State of Emergency will be lifted. At the same time, a more narrow Public Health Emergency Order will be issued to replace a Public Health Emergency Order issued on July 12, 2021. This updated Public Health Emergency Order will allow hospitals and long-term care facilities continued flexibility to respond to cases of COVID-19.