Teachers at the Cape Henlopen School District ask for more support during pandemic

LEWES, Del. – Some teachers at the Cape Henlopen School District in Delaware are asking for more support during the pandemic to help put their minds at ease.

“This fear of the unknown is more fearful now and abundant than ever,” said Lacey Brown, president of the Cape Henlopen Education Association.

Brown says she feels there’s been a lack of transparency from the superintendent on the actual number of students and teachers who’ve tested positive for COVID-19.

“Just the reporting of how many cases of teachers and students and how many people if people are quarantined or isolating or how much of our staff is affected because people talk and how much you hear at one building is different than what is actually happening,” said Brown.

Cape Henlopen School District Superintendent Robert Fulton responded to these concerns saying he and other district administrators have been meeting with the association periodically to keep them in the loop and he plans to continue to do so.

And as a result of the rising number of COVID cases within the district and a lack of substitute teachers the school district is taking action and has made the tough decision to move to remote learning from December 18th through December 22nd something that was just recently encouraged by Governor John Carney.

“We really think this is an important time to take a step back for everybody to get on the same page with respect to what the scientists are showing us,” said Carney during a COVID-19 briefing on December 8.

Brown hopes this move back to remote learning will help teachers feel refreshed and ready to tackle the new year.

“We want our staff healthy for January,” said Brown, “We want our students healthy for January and we want our community healthy for January and that really is the focus of this pause.”

Superintendent Fulton tells 47ABC they’ve had to quarantine 46 staff members since the start of the school year (this includes staff and teachers).

“Myself and other District Administrators have met with CHEA and CHSSA, and other professional groups periodically throughout the last few months and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. The operational challenges within the District are due to having a lack of substitutes to cover classrooms. Typically, this time of year substitute teachers are more difficult to find, especially on Mondays and Fridays. This year it has become more difficult with COVID-19. And although we have had an increase in staff quarantines, the operational concerns are primarily due to a lack of available substitute teachers,” said Fulton.

“As of today, we have had to quarantine 46 staff members in our schools since the start of the school year (this includes staff and teachers). It’s important to know that the individuals we ask to quarantine is done so out of an abundance of caution after being exposed to a potentially positive case at one of our schools and is based on recommendations by the Department of Public Health (DPH),” said Fulton.

On Monday, Fulton sent a letter to staff and families saying in part: “Unfortunately, the number of necessary quarantines for the positive cases have increased over the last
few days. This increase in quarantines, along with a lack of substitute teacher coverage in the classrooms has caused operational challenges for our schools. As winter break approaches, these operational concerns become more challenging, and because of this, we have made the difficult decision to take a “pause” from our hybrid learning model for three days beginning Friday, December 18 until Tuesday, December 22. We will continue our hybrid learning model through Thursday, December 17, 2020.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Delaware