Governor John Carney on Wednesday issued a new modification to his State of Emergency declaration and, in doing so, reversed course on notifying parents and of-age students of positive novel coronavrus COVID-19 tests at their schools.
On August 11th, Carney and Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay said determining when individuals would be notified of a positive COVID case would come down to whether or not exposure was deemed to have occurred in "high-risk settings."
"Whether it's the school that might find out first that there's the positive case, or public health, we will work very, very closely with the schools, with the school district, in responding," Rattay said at the time. "There may be times when there's really no need for the public to know, for example, if a person was positive but no one else would have been considered exposed. That's unlikely to be made public. However, if there are exposures and there's reason to make the public aware, we will work with the school, the school district, to make sure that people have the information that they may need."
On Wednesday, however, Carney announced as part of his 25th modification to the State of Emergency that "all Local Education Agencies must notify parents/guardians and students aged eighteen (18) and up if the school becomes aware that a person who tested positive was in the school building at the same time as students."
The Division of Public Health with assist schools on their responses and reports while schools will be able to determine the "manner and content of the notification is up to each school and must be consistent with applicable state and federal law."
In the same modification, Carney made official the requirement for face masks on students throughout the entire range of the educational system--from students above the age of 2 in kindergarten through those up to 18 years of age in high school--after the DPH updated its guidelines this week.
While also adding a number of guidance into law for providing safety initiatives for students attending lessons in-person, Carney additionally suspended the "minimum annual school hours requirement" for the coming year, citing school schedules should be developed according to whichever operational model a given school has chosen--in-person, hybrid, or remote--to provide instruction, and each should provide 3.5 to five hours of programming each day, either continuously or broken up across the day.
School calendars can also be amended without a 30-day public notification, instead only needing to provide seven days notice.
The entire modification can be found here: