Mandatory masks, stay-at-home advisory handed down by governor

Remote learning recommended, winter competitions paused until January
December 3, 2020

Gov. John Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health Dec. 3 announced a new stay-at-home advisory, strongly advising all Delawareans to avoid gathering indoors with anyone outside their own household from Dec. 14 through Jan. 11 to interrupt the dangerous winter surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Delaware.

The advisory does not apply to Delawareans in workplaces, and traveling to and from their places of work.

In addition to the stay-at-home advisory, Carney and DPH instituted a universal mask mandate statewide, requiring Delawareans to wear a cloth face covering anytime they are indoors with anyone outside their immediate household. Delaware has had a public mask mandate since April 28, requiring Delawareans and visitors to wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing is not possible. Any child 2-years-old or younger must not wear a face covering, due to the risk of suffocation, he said.

Carney also recommended on Thursday that Delaware schools pause in-person learning beginning Dec. 14, transition to virtual learning through Jan. 8, and return to hybrid learning on Jan. 11. This will allow schools to plan operationally for the second half of the 2020-2021 school year, officials said.

The recommendation does not apply to child care centers. Schools that do not face significant operational challenges may remain in hybrid learning, with a mix of remote and in-person instruction.

Winter sports competitions will be prohibited from Dec. 14 through Jan. 11, but practices may continue under strict COVID-19 masking and social distancing guidelines.

The Delaware Department of Education will be meeting with educators and their district leadership or charter representatives to discuss any concerns or questions they may have. Educators may also share their experiences and feedback by sending an email to

Carney will formalize the advisory and universal mask mandate in a forthcoming revision to the omnibus COVID-19 emergency order.  

“A vaccine is on the way but, make no mistake, we are facing the most difficult few months of this crisis,” he said in a press release. “I know we’re all tired of COVID-19 – but it’s not tired of us. We’re pleading with Delawareans to do the right thing. Wear a mask. It’s a simple sacrifice to protect others, and to make sure that Delaware’s children get an education. Do not gather with anyone outside your household. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.  

“We know that schools are structured and relatively safe environments. That's thanks to the hard work of educators, students and staff who have been following the science, and keeping their communities healthy. “But school leaders and educators face significant operational challenges as we see more community spread. If we pull together and follow the public health advice, we can get more children in classrooms, and get through this difficult winter.”  


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