Our goal is always to have students in school who are attending according to a traditional schedule when possible. Keeping our school learning environments healthy and safe is our top priority. We recognize that any alternate schedule or school closures have a significant impact on our students, staff and families.
However, the decision to shift to an alternate schedule or close Parkway schools may need to be made to prevent further spread of COVID-19 or in response to high absenteeism among students and/or staff. The superintendent will make closure decisions in consultation with the Superintendent’s Action Team, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and other school districts in our region.
Possible School Closure Trigger Points:
- Student and/or staff absenteeism
- Spread of COVID-19 in the community
- Confirmed case(s) of COVID-19 in one or more schools
Decisions also will be made based on guidance from the CDC and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
We will ask that students with symptoms that are consistent with a possible COVID-19 infection to be evaluated by their healthcare provider and get clearance to return to school. Their healthcare provider will make the determination if a COVID-19 test is needed.
In the classroom, seating will allow for social distancing. Non-essential furniture will be removed to allow for extra space and seating will be rearranged. Classrooms with group tables will be modified to allow appropriate distancing of students. Your school will communicate additional details.
Extra care will be taken to keep students’ belongings separated. Frequently touched items will be cleaned regularly. Additionally, the sharing of materials such as school supplies, electronic devices, books, toys and equipment will be avoided.
Class time, travel within the building, lunch and recess times will be staggered and/or spread out to alternate spaces to allow for social distancing. When students travel in the hallways, there will be visual aids to direct students throughout the building. These visual aids will illustrate directional traffic flow and appropriate spacing to support social distancing.
Students will be encouraged to wash their hands often, including when entering classrooms, before lunch, after recess and after any activity outside of the classroom. We will take extra care to give students these opportunities to wash their hands during the school day. In locations where access to soap and water is limited, alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be available. A limited number of students will be allowed in the bathroom at the same time.
Schools will follow safety and disinfection guidelines developed by the CDC and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health for buses, classrooms, workspaces, outdoor spaces and playgrounds. At school, we will be cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces multiple times throughout the day. High-touch areas throughout the school building include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, toilets, faucets and sinks.
We will adjust custodial staffing schedules to allow for more custodial support during the day to clean and disinfect, while also supporting deeper cleaning at night.
Yes. Parkway has ordered and will regularly replenish sanitation equipment for protection against COVID-19. These supplies include (but are not limited to) cloth face masks for staff, disposable face masks, N95 and KN95 masks for nurses, face shields, disposable gowns, disinfectant and cleaning supplies for classrooms, hand sanitizer, infrared thermometers, disposable gloves, and signage to communicate safety procedures and precautions.
Parents and staff will be notified immediately if they have had close contact with anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19. We will follow the guidance of public health authorities in making decisions to close classrooms or schools, or to quarantine specific groups of students or staff.
Will students or staff who have been in contact need to quarantine? Will the school/classroom close?
We will be in close consultation with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health to make decisions about the need for individuals or groups of people to be quarantined or tested for COVID-19, depending on the exposure. The Parkway Health Services team will take responsibility for surveillance and follow-up with parents and staff.
Our response and subsequent immediate action steps will be dependent on the situation. For example, the Health Department might recommend a school closure for 2-5 days for cleaning, or they might recommend quarantine for 14 days for a small group of people who had close contact with an infected person. Close contact is defined by health officials as an individual who has been within six feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes of time (cumulative) without wearing a face covering.
We will work with the County Health Department and err on the side of caution to decide when students/staff may need to quarantine and/or a classroom or school should be closed.
Please read the current guidance for schools from the St. Louis County Department of Health (below):
When a Case is Identified
If an individual within a school building is tested positive for COVID-19, schools must work with their local health department but could expect some of these parameters to be put in place:
- Identify who the individual was in contact with, within a 6-foot space, for at least 15 minutes. If specific contacts cannot be identified, quarantine everyone who was in the same room, bus or other areas. Schools will need to keep room/bus logs in order to assist with contact tracing.
- The St. Louis County Health Department suggests that if over 5 percent of the student body in a building or district test positive any day, 4 percent test positive over 2 days in a row or 3 percent test positive for 3 days in a row, then that building or district closes for 10 days (percentages may change when more scientific data becomes available).
- In the event a person diagnosed with COVID-19 is determined to have been in the building and poses a risk to the staff or students, a school may close for 1-2 days for cleaning and disinfection of that building or exposed area if unable to clean during the nighttime closing.
If someone is a known close contact to someone with COVID-19, or if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, medical clearance would be required prior to returning to school or work. Quarantines can last 14 days or more, depending on the individual circumstances, and we will be depending on current public health guidelines in each situation.
Staff are required to complete a daily health screening prior to coming to work.
Parents are asked to screen their child(ren) before they leave for school. We ask that parents check them for fever, a sense of having a fever, chills, a cough, sore throat, headache, new loss of smell or taste, or new muscle aches. Not all children who have COVID-19 will have a fever, so parents should check their children closely for any of the other symptoms.
Anyone, staff or student, with a fever of 100.4º F or higher should not attend school.
If any of the COVID-19 symptoms occur, please take the following actions:
- Keep your child at home
- Call your child’s school to report the symptoms your child is experiencing
- Call your child’s health care provider for advice on managing the illness
We will not take students’ temperatures when they arrive at school. Taking temperatures at school would be challenging to complete in a safe and timely manner, given the number of students and supervision that would need to be in place. The most effective, evidence-based strategies to prevent the spread of illness are hand washing, wearing masks and social distancing.
We will be following the guidance of the St. Louis County Department of Health and the CDC when it comes to recommended quarantines for travel. Currently, there are no travel restrictions in our area for travel domestically in the US. International travel requires a 14-day quarantine on return to the US. COVID-19 is a very fluid situation and this can change. You can find more information about travel on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html.
More guidance will be coming soon to address questions about the health assessment screening questions. Certainly, the individual who has an explanation for a symptom (e.g. chronic pain from arthritis, or seasonal allergies) does not need to stay home for those particular symptoms.