St. Louis County schools to reopen with masks, distancing
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — Schools in St. Louis County will reopen with masks, social distancing and some online classes amid an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
County Executive Sam Page said Monday that public and private schools are expected to present their plans to parents and students Tuesday after meeting with county public health officials to set protocols for safely reopening classrooms and school activities, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
“I think it’s important to get some sort of traditional learning environment in place and to have a pathway to move forward in a way that is safe,” Page said at a news conference.
The announcement came as state health officials reported that the number of new confirmed cases rose Monday to 23,856, up 420 or 1.8% since Sunday. The number of COVID-19 deaths held steady at 1,028.
Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven on Monday said the state is using $55 million in federal coronavirus aid to help schools. She said $10 million will be spent on WiFi, which could mean an estimated 250,000 new internet connections for students.
The state will dole out another $15 million to reimburse schools for the cost of delivering food to students and buying personal protective equipment.
Meanwhile, a fifth St. Louis County Police Department employee, a commissioned police officer, has tested positive for COVID-19. It is unknown how the individual contracted the virus.
Police said Monday that potentially affected work areas have been thoroughly cleaned and no other associated cases are known at this time.
Also, 31 graduates of Norwood High School, located 60 miles (96.56 kilometers) east of Springfield in Wright County, have been told to self-quarantine because a classmate tested positive after attending commencement on June 26 and the sanctioned after-party without a mask. Ten school employees who served as sponsors were also told to stay home and watch for symptoms. Three members of the senior class missed commencement.
It was not immediately known how many tested positive.
“We hate for this to happen but we didn’t want to deny the graduation to students,” said Superintendent Shannon Crain. “We kind of waited as long as we could.”