By Alecia Reid

DOVER, Del. (CBS) — Delaware students return to class next week after an extended winter break because of the pandemic. Gov. John Carney and health officials are now urging schools across the state to return to hybrid learning.

Carney believes students learn best when in a physical classroom.

“The thing that really hurts my heart is to think about 6 and 7-year-olds who are learning how to read that have just been missing that, those that don’t have the kind of supported home,” he said.

Worried about students falling behind, Carney says one of his new year’s resolutions is to get children back in school. In a letter to families, he is urging them to return to hybrid sessions on Jan. 11.

Health officials say a recent study in Mississippi shows schools aren’t superspreaders.

“Those who tested positive were more likely to have attended gatherings like weddings, parties, play dates, or funerals. But they were not more likely to have attended child care or school,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay with the Department of Public Health.

Since December, Delaware’s Department of Education held upwards of two dozen meetings with superintendents and teachers in each district. The majority of educators said they would feel safe going back to the classroom with clear communication about the conditions in their schools.

“We have a variety of ways of checking constantly to make sure that those who are interacting with our students are healthy,” said Dr. Susan Bunting with Delaware’s Department of Education.

In the meantime, some parents are thrilled their children can finally get back on campus.

“I think it’s so important for their mental health, for their socialization skills, just for them to reconnect with their teachers,” said Kim O’Neill, a parent in the Red Clay School District.

“I think they really need to be in school, and for parents who disagree, they have been offered the option to keep their kids at home,” said Traci Murphy, a parent in the Red Clay School District.

The state has created a website updated with the number of cases linked to schools, which officials say will be updated weekly.


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