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Science, Health, Tech

Gov. Carney extends school mask mandate until February

Carney_Grip.jpg
Roman Battaglia
/
Delaware Public Media

The state government is extending mask requirements in schools for another 60 days.

Gov. John Carney’s mask mandate was set to expire on December 10th, but the governor, along with the Department of Education chose to extend the deadline until February 8th.

The mask mandate was reinstated starting at the beginning of this school year, as cases of COVID-19 continued to rise in August, and a vaccine for children had not yet been approved.

Carney says now that a vaccine for those ages 5 to 11 is available, the focus is now on getting vaccination rates up.

“It’s our hope that, by February, we will be able to lift the state mask requirement," said Carney in a statement. "Getting the shot will keep Delaware’s children protected, and keep them in school.”

The children’s vaccine was approved only last week, so no data is available yet — but around half of all kids ages 12-17 are fully vaccinated. That’s the second lowest category behind 18-34 year olds, in which 48 percent of whom are vaccinated.

The Division of Public Health has a list of locations offering the pediatric vaccine on their website, and DPH’s four vaccine clinics will offer expanded hours through next week to accommodate working families.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.