DOVER — Gov. John Carney and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services on Monday formally issued an emergency regulation that requires all individuals working in schools to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing.
The order goes into effect Nov. 1. The requirement, first announced Sept. 28, applies to educators, school staff, volunteers and contractors in Delaware’s public and private K-12 schools.
“There’s no better way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and keep all Delaware children in their classrooms, than to get vaccinated,” Gov. Carney said in a statement. “Our top priority has been to get all Delaware students back in school this fall. This requirement will help keep them there and prevent regular disruptions to their learning. These vaccines are safe and extremely protective against COVID-19 infection and serious illness. I encourage all Delawareans to get your shot and help us finally put an end to this pandemic.”
Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting said last month that districts will be required to have a progressive disciplinary policy for those who fail to follow the vaccine requirement and do not test weekly.
State officials have said the exact number of educators who are currently unvaccinated is unknown. School employees were one of the first groups of Delawareans who were eligible to receive the vaccine, beginning with a phased-in approach in January.
There have been 293 in-person contagious COVID-19 cases among K-12 public school staff so far this school year, according to numbers via the Delaware Division of Public Health as of Wednesday. An additional 1,672 in-person contagious cases have been reported among students — 1.1% of the estimated 141,040 students in K-12 public schools this year.