COVID19 News & Updates

Many areas around the world are experiencing an expanding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. This virus can spread from person-to-person and the number of cases detected in the United States and many other countries is growing.

As new information emerges, Sussex Tech staff will communicate to the school community.  We believe that sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.


April 30, 2020:

Dear Sussex Tech families,

As we announced last week, Sussex Tech is moving into Phase Two of our instructional plan, offering a structured learning environment with a schedule patterned after our regular school day. Please review the details of the plan by clicking here.

While Phase Two provides more structure to our remote learning plan, we cannot replicate the learning environment that students experienced in school. Moreover, given the number of students who – due to obstacles they cannot control – may not be able to regularly attend online classes or complete learning packets, we have modified our grading system for the remainder of the school year.

However, I am pleased to report that over the last several weeks, more than 94 percent of our students have been engaged in independent remote learning – reviewing material, participating in online activities, discussing subjects with teachers, or completing instructional packets. 

Beginning Monday, May 4, our teachers will be holding regular live video instruction online on a daily schedule for students to access. This schedule will mirror our in-school schedule, with shorter periods.

  • During our new third quarter, from May 4 to 11, students will have the chance to submit missed assignments, review material, and get back up to speed.
  • During the fourth quarter, from May 11 to June 12 (or June 5 for seniors), students will receive new instruction and have the opportunity to complete assignments and raise their grades.
  • Students without consistent or reliable online access can choose to work from printed instructional packets, as they are now.

This way of learning and teaching is not what any of us is used to, but I am encouraged by the creativity of our teachers. The questions and answers below will give you more details about how this system will work and how your student can best learn and succeed. These answers and the ones we provided yesterday are all on our website at 

If you have any questions not answered below, please email Thank you for your time and dedication to your children. Please stay safe and healthy.

Stephen Guthrie

April 29, 2020:

Dear Sussex Tech families,

As we shared with you last week, our students will not be returning to campus this school year, based on the Governor’s executive order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19

We are working on the final details of the next phase of our instructional plan to keep students learning remotely through the end of the school year, and will share that with you very soon. In the meantime, many of you have asked about other issues, such as graduation, refunds, picking up or dropping off items, driver’s education, and more. The following Q&A will answer many of those questions. 

For some issues, we are working on procedures to comply with social distancing orders and to keep you and our staff safe. For those that require picking up or dropping off items, they may be delayed to comply with the Governor’s executive orders and the stay-at-home restrictions. For others items, we are awaiting guidance from the state. We will share those details with you as soon as they are finalized.

For our soon-to-be-graduates, we know that it is painful to miss the traditions and rituals of senior year, and to be without the friendship and camaraderie of your fellow students. We absolutely feel the same way and miss seeing your faces in the classroom, in the hallway, and on the field. Please know that we are working on multiple options for recognizing our seniors’ accomplishments and achievements even without a return to campus.

If you have any questions that are not addressed here, please email


Stephen Guthrie
Sussex Technical School District

April 24, 2020:

Dear Sussex Tech community,

As you may have heard, Governor John Carney announced this afternoon that students will not be returning to school on May 18 as we hoped. Delaware public school buildings will remain closed for students through the end of the school year. This is saddening, but not unexpected given how COVID-19 has spread throughout Sussex County. Governor Carney specifically mentioned the impact here as an area of concern and a key factor in his decision not to reopen school buildings.

I know that you are all anxious to learn about how this decision will impact the education we are providing for your students. I want to stress that it does not mean that your children’s education is shutting down now or ending early; our team has been hard at work developing the next phase of our remote learning plan, providing more structure and leading to a more normal educational experience.

  • We will be sharing those details with you early next week as the next phase is finalized – including exactly what that means for your children for the rest of the school year.
  • We also will be sharing information about other items that you have asked about, such as graduation ceremonies, prom, retrieving personal items from school, and course scheduling for next year.

I know you have many questions, and we will do our best to answer all of them when we send out our update early next week. We will be in touch by email and phone, and you will also be able to find this information on our website and social media channels. If there are any questions not answered at that time, please email

We hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Stephen Guthrie

April 6, 2020:

Some families have reported not receiving recent calls home from Sussex Tech’s automated messaging system. To make sure that we have your current contact information in our records, please take the following steps:

  1. Log into your Home Access Center account here.
  2. Click on the Registration tab.
  3. Your family’s primary contact information will then show; click the “Edit” button.
  4. Make any changes and save.

It may take up to 24 hours for the information to update in our messaging system for calls and emails. Please email if you have any questions.

April 2, 2020:

Dear Sussex Tech families,

We have submitted our Remote Learning plan to the Department of Education to address how students will continue to learn during this school closure. The plan is posted on our website here, but I wanted to share some key highlights with you. 

Pending approval of DOE and by the Board of Education at its April 6 meeting, we will follow this calendar outline for the remainder of the school year. This is based on a return-to-school date of May 18, which is based on the Governor’s Executive Order; if that changes, this calendar will change as well.

  • Spring Break: Friday, April 10 – Monday, April 13
  • Return to School: May 18
  • Primary Day / No School: June 2
  • Senior Class End Date: June 5
  • Graduation: June 11
  • Grades 9-11 End Date: June 12 

Important items to know include:

  • There will be no final exams this year.
  • Marking Periods 3 and 4 will be merged into a single semester.
  • Students will have the maximum opportunities to raise their grades. Students will receive the higher of either their Marking Period 3 grade or the combined full-semester grade.
  • Students will be able to complete make-up work or submit assignments for Marking Period 3 upon our return to school.
  • Driver’s Education students will continue to meet to complete class time and will not move into academic enrichment until that is finished. We are working on a variety of options for completing driving hours.
  • Ninth-grade students will be in their chosen technical areas upon our return. 

This calendar may appear different from other districts. You will remember that we began our school year before Labor Day; we were also able to add in time from spring break and unused inclement weather days. That gives us an earlier end date than other districts may have.

To emphasize: If we are unable to return to school on May 18, this calendar and grading plan will be revised.

We will continue to share details with you as they are finalized. Please email with any questions. 

Stephen Guthrie


March 31, 2020:

Sussex Tech students needing a work permit during this closure period can fill out the form at this link, scan it, and email to


March 30, 2020:

Some Sussex Tech teachers are reaching out to students starting this week regarding lessons and resources during this school closure. All students should hear from teachers by next Monday, April 6. Teachers are putting together review lessons on topics covered so far this school year to help our students maintain their skills and knowledge.

Like all other schools in Sussex County, we are not teaching new subjects or grading assignments until we return to school, out of fairness for students who lack online access at home. Teachers are also developing instructional packets for those students.

Please visit our website,, for access to free online educational resources and links to students’ Schoology accounts. You can always email with any questions.

March 23, 2020:

Dear Sussex Tech families,

I’m sure you have heard by now of Governor Carney’s stay-at-home order issued last night, which goes into effect Tuesday morning. (A copy of the order is at the bottom of this email.) This applies to school districts as well, meaning Sussex Tech will be shut down until the coronavirus issue is resolved.

Many of you have had questions about student learning, spring sports, the end of school and the school calendar, exams, marking periods, graduation, and student events. While we are working on alternate plans, much depends on mandates from the State of Delaware and how this situation continues to evolve. Our primary goal, and that of Governor Carney, is on controlling this coronavirus spread and keeping our families, friends, and coworkers safe and secure.

Here are some important items that you need to know: 

  • We have made educational resources available to you on our website (just click here) so your students can continue practicing their skills during this shutdown.
  • We are not offering online classes, teaching new material, requiring student participation, or grading any material during this time. Not all of our students have Internet access at home, and we cannot offer education to some students while leaving out others.
  • Students may access free meals at locally sponsored sites; a complete list is available by clicking here. Families may pick up meal bags for children 18 and under who live in their home; children must be present.
  • Our year-round staff will continue to work from home handling critical needs, including sharing these educational opportunities.
  • The PACTT Center is also closed effective Tuesday.
  • The Board of Education will hold its regular meeting April 6 to take action on critical items.

We will share more information with you as we receive updates. In the meantime, please check out our Facebook page for additional news (no Facebook account is required); visit our Coronavirus Information webpage for complete updates; or check out our Educational Resources webpage for information for your students. You can always email for specific questions not answered there.

Please stay safe and healthy.

Stephen Guthrie
Superintendent, Sussex Technical School District


March 18, 2020:

Dear Sussex Tech families,

Our district leadership met today to develop a path forward during this current situation. Please read all the way through this message, as it contains important updates that you will need to know. Please email with any questions.

First, I hope that everyone understands that we face a very uncertain situation. No one knows exactly what will happen next; we are being guided by the science and expertise of state and federal health officials.

Second, I urge you to prepare for the possibility of extended or additional school closures. We have no guarantee that school will reopen at the end of the month. Plans made today can be overtaken by events tomorrow.

Third, we are working hard to answer your questions and address your concerns. This message includes many items that you have asked about. For other items, we are awaiting guidance from state or federal officials. 

Fourth, we are committed to keeping you informed. We will update you as we have new details, and you can always refer back to our coronavirus information webpage for the most current information.

Stephen Guthrie
Superintendent, Sussex Technical School District

Will Sussex Tech be offering online classes or virtual learning to students during this closure?

We have developed an educational resources webpage for our core academic areas, with plans to include our career-technical areas. Please note:
•          Using these resources is entirely voluntary, and teachers are not requiring students to complete them.
•          We are not offering online classes, teaching new material, or grading assignments due to the lack of Internet access at home for some of our students and on the advice of legal counsel. We cannot offer education to some students while leaving out others.
•          Students enrolled in online dual enrollment courses through Widener University and Delaware Technical Community College will have their semesters extended, and are not required to complete coursework during this closure.

Are seniors participating in work-based learning allowed to go to work?

All seniors participating in work-based learning may go to work during their normal times if their employer agrees. This is effective through the remainder of the school closure. Seniors must contact their employers and ask about their guidance. Students are not required to go to work and will not be penalized if they choose not to do so.

Will the school calendar be changed? Will spring break be modified or the school year extended?

Our Board of Education will be meeting later this month to discuss a possible revision to the school calendar, including any revisions mandated by the State of Delaware. We know that changes may disrupt some family plans, and are currently working through some complex issues and seeking guidance from state officials. Any calendar changes will be communicated to you as soon as possible.

While we have no definite schedule, please be assured that all students will be allowed to turn in make-up work or other obligations they had prior to the end of the marking period. There is a likelihood that the academic calendar will be extended and that marking period dates will be revised.

Will graduation still take place as scheduled?

At this point, we have made no changes to our graduation ceremony date, but will communicate that to you if it occurs.

Have any upcoming events been canceled?

The District has canceled all out-of-state trips and staff professional development through the end of the academic year.

The following events have also been canceled:
•          The choir trip to Washington, D.C., scheduled for April 24-25.
•          The senior trip to Busch Gardens, scheduled for May 22.

The following events have been postponed or are on hold:
•          The Coach Nic 5K race, scheduled for March 28.
•          The prom, scheduled for May 2.
•          All career-technical student organization trips to national competitions, such as DECA or BPA.

When will a particular exam be rescheduled?

At this point, we do not know when the ASVAB assessment or specific technical certification tests are being rescheduled. We are seeking guidance from the Department of Education and the certification authorities on this subject.

Will athletics teams be able to finish the season?

All high school athletics programs are currently on hold statewide. The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association will be providing guidance to school districts.

Will student-athletes be allowed on-campus to practice? Will athletics teams be holding offsite practices?

The Sussex Tech campus is closed, and no students are allowed on campus without permission of the Superintendent. While individual students may continue training on their own, no coaching staff may be involved or in attendance.


March 16, 2020:


On behalf of the Board of Education and our staff, I wish to thank you for your patience as we deal with this very uncertain situation. The coronavirus has triggered changes in all aspects of American life, and our team is working around the clock to make sure our schools are ready and prepared for your students when they return.

I have been talking and emailing daily over the weekend with the Governor’s office, the Department of Education, members of our Board of Education, state health officials, and other district superintendents. We all have the same concerns in mind and are sharing information as we develop plans to deal with the potential spread of the coronavirus; educational opportunities for our students; school events, trips, and activities; exams; career-technical and academic progress; marking period schedules; school calendars; financial impacts; building cleaning; and a host of other topics.

Under the Governor’s order, we remain closed with plans to reopen March 30. There are some key items that I want to share with you:

> A special Board of Education meeting will be held later this month to discuss a possible revision to the school calendar. We know that changes to the calendar may disrupt some family plans, and are doing our best to work through some complex issues and communicate any changes to you as soon as possible.

> All districts and state leaders have growing concerns about the potential length of the school shutdown due to the increase of positive coronavirus cases. We are taking a very hard look at the effect this increase may have on the return to normal school operations.

> We are also now under a national state of emergency, in addition to the state-level emergency declared by Governor Carney. That may have some impact on our plans going forward.

> Our campus is closed to all staff today and tomorrow to allow any virus that may be present on surfaces to die. Please note that we have no indication that the virus is present in our school; there are no positive cases in Sussex County at this time. When our 12-month staff returns on Wednesday, our custodians will resume their standard cleaning and disinfection routines, using EPA-registered products, as advised by health officials.

> Our school and district administrators and 12-month staff will be meeting Wednesday to create a plan for the next few weeks. We hope to have more detailed information for you on our path forward later this week.

> All seniors participating in work-based learning may go to work during their normal times if their employer agrees. This is effective through the remainder of the school closure. Seniors must contact their employers and ask about their guidance.

> Please find a list of open meal sites for students here ( Families may pick up meal bags for children 18 and under who live in their home. Children must be present. Any family needing additional information may contact their district or charter office.

Again, we will be releasing more detailed information to you later this week. Not all of your questions will be able to be answered at that time because this is a highly fluid situation, changing daily, but we will share whatever we can.

I know that the lack of specific information is causing uncertainty and concern among our families and staff. The path forward is unclear and unpredictable for all of us, but we are working closely with state decision-makers and will share any information as soon as we have it. We do not want to provide you with preliminary information that later has to be retracted. Our primary goal, first and foremost, is for the health and well-being of our students and staff, and we believe that the measures being taken now will help keep everyone safe.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility during this time. If you have questions, please email

Stephen Guthrie
Superintendent, Sussex Technical School District


March 13, 2020:


A short time ago, Governor John Carney directed all Delaware public schools to close for the next two weeks to help address public concerns and help mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus. Sussex Tech plans to reopen on Monday, March 30. This applies to both our high school and Adult Education students, including those at off-site locations.

During this time, all activities and events, including athletic events, have been canceled. Our staff will continue cleaning and disinfecting all contact surfaces on campus, as is their routine. 

We thank our school community for your patience and understanding as we have navigated this challenging and highly fluid situation. We believe that this temporary closure is a good step forward in addressing family concerns and mitigating against the future spread of the virus.


March 12, 2020: 

As a result of the developing coronavirus situation here in Delaware and surrounding states, we are taking the following actions for the health and well-being of our students and staff.

>> Effective immediately, Sussex Tech is canceling all out-of-state, District-sponsored travel, including field trips, athletic trips, and staff development, through April 19. This includes both overnight and day trips. The exception is the upcoming Raven Nation Marching Band trip, which is student-funded.

>> With regard to canceled athletic events, we will seek guidance from DIAA on making up games. Games played against teams traveling here from out of state will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

>> District leadership is reviewing all outside uses of the campus through April 19.

We understand that there will be some disappointments, but hope that our families understand the importance of keeping our students and staff safe. This is consistent with actions being taken by other school districts in Sussex County. If you have questions, please email

We are continuing to monitor the outlook and consult with other school districts and state health and education authorities. This situation is very fluid, and changes daily. We are committed to sharing the most up-to-date information with our school community and will communicate with you about additional decisions.


Our potential preparedness and response actions are outlined in this chart:

Click for PDF copy of the above graphic


How can I get more information on the situation in Delaware?


For current information and guidance, contact the State of Delaware information line at 1-866-408-1899; TTY at 1-800-232-5460; or email

How is Delaware preparing for a coronavirus outbreak?

• Has activated the Division of Public Health’s State Health Operations Center to allow for enhanced response coordination;
• Maintains communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners;
• Coordinates testing for symptomatic persons with an associated travel history to high-risk areas;
• Is monitoring asymptomatic (not sick) individuals returning from high-risk areas to ensure they do not develop symptoms;
• Provides symptom monitoring guidance for residents returning to Delaware from high-risk areas;
• Participates in frequent calls with health care systems, EMS and first responder agencies and other state agency partners;
• Provides information to health care professionals, businesses and educational settings; and 
• Has reviewed and adapted current pandemic flu plans for COVID-19.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Some coronaviruses have caused more severe illness, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus that was not identified in humans before December 2019.

What is the incubation period for coronavirus?

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

What are common symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It takes 2 to 14 days after a person gets the virus in their body to become ill. COVID-19 is a new disease, and we are learning more each day about its symptoms and how it is spread.

When should students or staff stay home?

If you develop a fever of 99 degrees Fahrenheit or above and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath you should call ahead to a healthcare professional. You should not come to school. Students who are sick with these symptoms will be isolated and sent home.

If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from high-risk areas where there is a likelihood of exposure to coronavirus, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your close contact. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

How does the virus spread?

Most often, it is spread from person-to-person via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It's currently unclear if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or their eyes. Often, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials and involves considering specifics of each situation including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for that patient.

What protective equipment is needed?

CDC does not recommend that well people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. Students wearing a mask for no medical reason will be asked to remove it.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

Currently, no antiviral medication is recommended to treat infection with the new coronavirus. Treatment is directed at relieving symptoms and may include:
• Pain relievers
• Cough syrup or medication
• Rest
• Fluid intake

If your doctor thinks you can be treated at home, he or she may give you special instructions, such as to isolate yourself as much as possible from family while you're sick and to stay home for a period of time. If you're very ill, you may need to be treated in the hospital.

Who should seek medical evaluation for COVID-19?

Students, staff, and volunteers who are:

• Ill with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have traveled from high-risk areas in the last 14 days.
• Ill with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have been identified by public health officials as a recent close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or had recent close contact with someone who is being evaluated for COVID-19 infection.

What should I do if I suspect a student, staff member, or volunteer is at risk for COVID-19?

If a student, staff member, or volunteer meets the above criteria, it is important to place them in a private room away from others and provide them with a face mask. Immediately notify the school nurse. They will provide you with guidance.

How will we prevent COVID-19 infections in the District?

The District is advising students and staff that they can reduce their risk for getting and spreading viral respiratory infections, including the flu and the common cold, by encouraging them to take simple steps which will also prevent COVID-19. These include:

• Staying home when they are sick.
• Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after they blow their nose. Help young children do the same. If hands are visibly dirty, use soap and water to clean hands.
• If soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Advising persons to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Following the school's routine cleaning and disinfection program. Emphasizing to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash and cleaning hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available).
• Urging students and staff to get a flu shot during the flu season.
• Providing adequate supplies for good hygiene, including clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, paper towels, and alcohol‐based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid handshakes.
• Avoid sharing beverages.

What are the procedures for cleaning and disinfecting the school?

Sussex Tech custodians sanitize surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as bathrooms, water coolers, desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands‐on learning items, faucet handles, phones and toys on a daily basis.

Our custodians are trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner and to clean up potentially infectious materials and body fluid spills – blood, vomit, feces, and urine. Teachers and other staff routinely contact custodians or one of the school nurses if students are ill or classroom needs cleaning and disinfection.

Custodians receive annual trainings on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and will follow the following procedures:

Cleaning the surface first to remove all organic matter. Custodial staff follow the disinfectant manufacturer’s instructions for use. These instructions include:
o Using the proper concentration of disinfectant
o Allowing the required wet contact time
o Paying close attention to hazard warnings and instructions for using personal protective items such as gloves and eye protection
o Using disinfectants in a sufficiently ventilated space
o Schools and districts must have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each chemical used in the school.

Sussex Tech has been informed by the CDC and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services that special processes beyond routine cleaning are not necessary nor recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. They have advised that schools should follow standard procedures for cleaning with third party certified “green” cleaners and disinfecting with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered disinfectant with a claim for human coronaviruses.

What does the District recommend regarding family travel?

We advise Sussex Tech students, parents and staff not to travel to high-risk areas where there is a likelihood of exposure to coronavirus. If you do, notify District staff of your plans in advance and check in upon your return for a screening. Our goal is to determine the risk to the general population of the school.

What happens if we have a student or staff member confirmed with coronavirus?

If Sussex Tech receives confirmation that a student, staff member, or the parent of a student has received a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus, we would immediately contact the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services to determine the next steps. These steps could include:
• Providing the names of students and staff who had direct contact with the patient;
• Deep cleaning of identified areas of the school; and
• Assisting public health authorities with traceback or patient contact investigations.

Would Sussex Tech close if a student or staff member has a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus?

Sussex Tech would work with the Delaware Department of Education and the Department of Health and Social Services to assist in making a school closure decision. If the school were required to close for an extended period of time, we would work with the appropriate agencies to develop answers to questions such as the following:
• Would the school year be extended?
• What would the impact be on summer school?
• Will there be alternate graduation ceremony dates?
• How would Work-Based Learning students be affected?
• How will other student activities be handled?
• What would be the impact on our financial obligations and outlays?
• Would employees be required to use sick or vacation leave?
• How would Adult Education students be affected?
• Will the PACTT Center remain open?

If school is closed, how will students continue to learn?

Teachers will use the Schoology platform to provide supplemental materials and lessons to students. Students should ensure that they know how to log into and use their Schoology accounts in advance.

Where can I turn for more information?




Sussex Technical School District. All rights reserved.