DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- Gov. John Carney announced Tuesday that everyone in K-12 schools and child care homes and centers must wear a face covering while indoors.
The new rule is effective on Monday, August 16, regardless of vaccination status, Carney said. The requirement covers both public and private schools in Delaware.
According to officials, child care centers are strongly encouraged to require masks for children 2 years old to kindergarten inside their facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Children younger than 2 should not wear masks due to the risk of suffocation.
Delaware joins a growing list of states that will require masks in schools. Last week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced students in kindergarten through 12th grade will have to wear masks in school this fall, regardless of vaccination status.
The School District of Philadelphia has also announced that all students and staff will have to wear masks when the new year begins.
However, on Friday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said he will not mandate masks in K-12 schools this fall, but many local districts have decided to require face coverings.
As of Monday, 64% of Delaware adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"There's no higher priority than getting all Delaware children back in their classrooms full-time this fall," said Carney. "This consistent, statewide approach will help students, educators, and staff return to school safely and without disruption. Vaccination remains the best way to finally put an end to this pandemic."
Carney also announced that state employees and visitors to Delaware state facilities must wear masks indoors starting August 16.