COVID-19

We have developed this page to share resources and keep staff, students and parents informed of our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. We will continuously update this page with our latest communication to parents and staff and additional resources as they become available.
Index of Mehlville School District updates related to coronavirus (COVID-19):



March 23, 2020: Our extended closure will last through April 22

Dear Mehlville School District staff and families,

I’d like to provide you with an important update on our extended closure to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Based on CDC guidance, conversations with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and surrounding school districts, the Mehlville School District will be closed through Wednesday, April 22. Please watch my remarks on this decision.



I know that this causes challenges for our families. We believe this action is necessary to keep our students, employees and Mehlville families as safe as possible.

I also know this continued closure will generate lots of questions, especially for families with seniors.  We don’t have all the answers today, but we are working to finalize plans on a multitude of items. We will continue to provide you with frequent updates.

During the closure we will continue to provide grab-and-go meals at our pick up locations. Our learning team will continue to work with teachers and do the best we can for continued learning opportunities in this unprecedented time. You can find all of our updates related to this extended closure at mehlvilleschooldistrict.com.

One thing I know for sure is that our staff are committed to kids. We will continue to do everything we can to support our community during our closure. Thank you for your support and your patience as we navigate this challenging landscape.

Sincerely,

Chris Gaines, Ed.D.
Superintendent



March 20, 2020: Remote Learning During Our Extended Closure

Dear Mehlville School District Families,

Over the last few days, you have received communication about providing for the immediate and basic needs of our students, including gaining access to food and medication while students are out of school as well as guidance from your student’s building principal related to technology access and distribution.

Today, we want to share our learning plan for students over the next two weeks (March 23-April 3). We hope that students will engage in remote learning opportunities beginning on Wednesday, March 25. Further communication and plans will be sent home as needed.

Please review the guidelines for student learning activities. Please understand that during this time, many students will have access to technology, but some students may not have access to WiFi. Therefore, it is the district decision at this time that grades will not be taken on any assignment for the next two weeks and no new information should be taught. 

The goal during the next two weeks is to provide both enrichment as well as review opportunities to students to complete at home. The curriculum department will be providing access to digital resources through your student’s Clever sign-on as well as print copies of activities in grades K-5.
  • You can find all the K-5 digital and printable materials following this link, bit.ly/mehlvillek5clever.
  • Students in grades 6-12 will continue to utilize Google Classroom as the preferred communication platform for accessing resources.
During this time, we know that routines, schedules and consistency are important concepts that allow families to feel a sense of normalcy, even when many things are abnormal. As a family member, you are encouraged to create schedules that work best for you and for your family.

Next week, your child’s teachers will be reaching out to you and your child through email, phone call, SeeSaw or Google Classroom to check in. Teachers will be holding regular virtual “office hours” in the mornings and afternoons starting on Monday. During these times, they’ll be checking in with students, responding to email and voicemail. Look for more information from your child's teacher.

The best educational experience a student can have is when home and school are working together to be supportive. While none of us expected our current reality, I look forward to learning together with each of you as we support every student who attends our schools.

Sincerely,

Dr. Brian Smith
Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning



March 18, 2020: Medication, Meals and Chromebook Pickup
(updated  March  21, 2020)

 Dear Mehlville School District families,

Mehlville CaresThank you for your patience as we work as quickly as possible to put meaningful plans in place for our COVID-19 shutdown, March 23 to April 3. Our immediate concern is meeting the basic needs of our students. That involves ensuring students have access to medication previously stored at school, and ensuring students have access to breakfast and lunch.

Medication Pick Up
Parents are asked to visit their child’s school between 7:30 a.m. and noon on Sunday, March 22, to pick up any medication they need that is stored at school. Parents must be present to sign their child’s medication out from the school nurse. If you cannot make it to school Monday morning, please call or email your school principal.

Grab-and-Go Meals for Students
Free meals will be available for pick-up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, March 23 through April 3, at several locations throughout the district. Our primary grab-and-go location is Mehlville High School, 3200 Lemay Ferry Road, St. Louis, MO 63125. Buses will transport meals to these additional locations for pick-up between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Jefferson Townhomes (Tuckahoe Drive and Poplar Forest)
  • Lemay 1 and Lemay 2 (Adworth Drive and Barracksview Drive)
  • Casa Brazilia (Casa Brazilia Drive)
  • The Vineyards (Daiquiri Lane, near tennis court area)
  • Bierbaum Elementary School, 2050 Union Road, St. Louis, MO, 63125
  • Oakville High School, 5557 Milburn Road, St. Louis, MO, 63129 
Meals are for students 18 or younger living in Mehlville School District only. Families are asked to remain in their cars during grab-and-go pickup. A Mehlville School District staff member will deliver a sack lunch and sack breakfast to your vehicle for each child present in that vehicle.

Our Voluntary Intradistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) students may visit our meal sites or access grab-and-go meals close to home through St. Louis Public Schools.

Learn more about grab-and-go meals.

Continuity of Learning
We are also finalizing plans to provide students with the opportunity for review and enrichment during our two-week COVID-19 shutdown. More details will be shared with you tomorrow about what these learning opportunities will look like. In the meantime, however, we want to ensure every student has access to the technology needed to continue to learn at home.

Chromebook Pickup
Schools will be distributing Chromebooks to students on Sunday, March 22.  Please look for communication from your school principal with details about your school’s pick-up procedures. 

All digital learning materials are accessible through any desktop computer, laptop computer or tablet. Digital learning materials are difficult to access through a smartphone. If you have a laptop or desktop computer or a tablet that is connected to the Internet at home, you do not need to pick up a Chromebook.

Internet Access
Charter is offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. Learn more: http://bit.ly/charterinternetaccessCOVID-19 or 1-844-488-8395.

Additional Technology for SSD Students
If your child uses assistive technology, like an augmentative communication device or an iPad, through Special School District, your child’s area coordinator or case manager will be reaching out with details on how you can pick up these devices during Chromebook pick-up on Tuesday, March 24.

I hope this letter answers some of your questions. I’m sure you have many, many more questions, and we will continue to provide you with updates. Look for a description of our continuity of learning plan tomorrow.

Over the past few days, I have seen our leadership team and staff come together to plan our path forward. While things remain uncertain, one thing I know for certain: Mehlville School District staff are committed to doing everything we can to support our students and their families during this time.

Sincerely,

Chris Gaines, Ed.D.
Superintendent




March 15, 2020: Mehlville School District will be closed through April 3

Dear Mehlville School District staff and families,

Based on guidance and consultation today with the St. Louis County Health Department, all schools in St. Louis County will be closed March 18 through April 3.

What this means for Mehlville School District
  • All Mehlville School District schools will be closed through Friday, April 3, 2020
  • All athletics, activities, practices and events are canceled starting tomorrow Monday, March 16, through Friday, April 3. Community enrichment classes are also canceled.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread in Missouri, the United States and across the world, we feel it is our responsibility to do what we can to curb its spread. We encourage all of our staff and our families to practice social distancing and follow the preventative actions recommended by St. Louis County Department of Health.

I realize this closure is a hardship for our entire community. Our students don’t just rely on school for learning, many look to school for breakfast and lunch, critical relationships with peers and staff, and sometimes even medical support.

While our buildings will be closed, we will do everything we can to support our students and serve as a community resource during this challenging time. We will communicate our plans, including learning supports, meals for our students and supports for our employees over the next few days.

Please look for additional emails and texts from us throughout this week. These will also be shared on this website. Thank you for your continued support as we make decisions in the best interest of our students, staff and our community.

Sincerely,

Chris Gaines, Ed.D.
Superintendent



March 13, 2020: Field trips and district-hosted events canceled through March

Mehlville School District is canceling all field trips and district-hosted or school-sponsored events through the end of March. This cancellation is effective for events on March 14-31, 2020. Athletic contests will be subject to any MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Activities Association) action.

The District will cover the cancellation costs of school-sponsored trips/events due to COVID-19 and seek refunds from the companies/vendors involved.

We will continue to evaluate travel over the coming days and make any additional decisions as necessary.



March 12, 2020: Update on COVID-19 and Spring Break Travel

Dear Mehlville School District parents and staff,

We always work to make the best decisions we can, using the information available to us and keeping the safety and well-being of our community at the heart of our decisions. There are many unknowns when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. The information and guidance related to the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to rapidly change. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we make difficult decisions amidst these unusual and evolving circumstances. We wanted to provide another update to you before the start of Spring Break.

Revised Travel Guidance
If any of the following guidance applies to you or anyone in your household, please self-report your travel plans to your school principal (find school contact information).

Travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has changed almost daily this week. Just last night, new guidance was provided related to European countries. As a result of information shared at a March 11 meeting with officials from the St. Louis County Department of Health, Mehlville School District is monitoring a list of destinations with sustained community transmission. Staff and students may be required to quarantine upon return from these locations. In addition to countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and out of an abundance of caution, the district is recommending that students, staff and family members self-isolate/quarantine for 14 days if they are returning from an area with sustained community transmission. As of March 12, areas with sustained community transmission include:

International Locations
Countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC

U.S. Locations
Seattle/King County, Washington
Westchester County, New York
Santa Clara County, California

Please note that this list could change during our Spring Break.

The CDC is also recommending that travelers defer cruise ship travel until further notice. Those returning from cruise ship travel are being directed to limit their interactions with others for 14 days after returning and will be subject to quarantine upon return if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 on their ship.

Evolving Situation
We know many of our families have plans to travel over Spring Break. We would respectfully ask that families and staff be mindful of where and how you travel. If you are considering traveling, please take basic health precautions and stay informed about any changes to travel guidance and restrictions for your destination. Travel restrictions and areas experiencing sustained community transmission can expand with limited notice, so please be aware of those that might affect you.

We are encouraging district families and staff to alert their school principal of their Spring Break travel plans. This information will help us better plan for possible absences due to quarantine. It is our goal to utilize this information in order to help us better prepare for continued learning for our students.

Student Field Trips
We are evaluating student trips on a case-by-case basis. If your child’s trip is canceled, you will be notified by the trip sponsor.

If Schools Need to Close
We are developing a continuity of education plan to provide for instruction and continued student learning in case we need to close a school to minimize the spread of COVID-19. If there is a need for schools to close, we will communicate closure information and a timeline to staff and parents as soon as possible.

Again, the health and safety of our students and staff is always a top priority, and I want to assure you that we are making the best decisions we can with the rapidly changing information we are given. You can view our past updates on COVID-19 and some helpful Frequently Asked Questions below. We will continue to update this website with the latest information we have.

Sincerely,

Chris Gaines, Ed.D.
Superintendent





March 9, 2020: Frequently asked questions about coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is the coronavirus?

The COVID-19 Coronavirus is an emerging and rapidly evolving outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and which has now been detected in many locations internationally, including cases in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2,” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

What should I do if my child is sick?
If your child is sick, please keep them home from school. Please call your child’s school and report the illness symptoms your student is experiencing to the attendance secretary. Call your child’s health care provider for advice on managing your child’s illness.

How can my child and family stay well?

To help prevent the spread of illness, follow these important tips:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Will my student or I be penalized for staying home from school sick?
Absolutely not. We want our students to be at school. However, when they are sick, they should be at home. The same applies to our staff members. We need our staff to be healthy in order to care for our children, so they should stay home when they are sick.

What measures are you taking to prevent the spread of illness?
We have put additional plans in place to increase the disinfection of schools, including surfaces and buses. Mehlville is taking this opportunity to remind students and staff about good hand hygiene and to cover coughs and sneezes.

Are students given opportunities to wash their hands during the school day including before lunch?
Students are being given opportunities to wash their hands during the school day. In locations where access to soap and water is limited, hand sanitizer is also available.

How will Mehlville School District handle an outbreak of illness in our community and/or schools?
We would be working closely with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and following its recommendations.

Currently, we have increased our cleaning and sanitizing procedures and are emphasizing the importance of good hand hygiene at school. Although we hope that our schools will not need to close, we are looking at ways to support student learning in the event of a prolonged closure.

At what point might you take additional measures if needed and what does that look like?
If there were infections in our community, public health authorities may recommend specific measures to lessen the possibility of the spread of infection in our schools. This could include measures to increase “social distancing,” such as moving desks further apart and limiting activities where large groups are closely gathered like assemblies or certain after-school activities. We will be following the recommendations of public health experts if this becomes a concern in our region.

If my student travels outside of the country, will Mehlville School District restrict his/her reentry into school?
Mehlville School District will be following the direction of the Health Department in these situations. People who are ill or have traveled to areas where COVID-19 is active may be asked by public health officials to quarantine at home for a period of time. Since this is an evolving situation, it is impossible to say with certainty who may be impacted by recommended quarantine.

How will Mehlville School District determine when it might be necessary to close a school(s)?
Closing schools would most likely be at the recommendation of public health authorities in the region or at the direction of elected local or state leadership. It is also possible that the Superintendent and Board of Education would make the decision to close schools if there were not enough healthy staff members available to work. There may also be a situation where specific schools would close while others remained open. We are tracking student and staff illnesses in our schools on an ongoing basis.

What are Mehlville School District’s cleaning procedures?
Our Facilities Department uses a disinfectant that is known to be effective at killing COVID-19 and most other viruses. Custodians are wiping down surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, handrails, light switches and drinking fountains on a regular basis. We have recently added more disinfection of school buses as well.

Can and/or should students and staff wear masks at school?
Public health authorities do not currently recommend that healthy people routinely wear masks, and we do not recommend that students and staff wear masks at school. There is some evidence that people who are sick can lessen the spread of respiratory infections if they wear a mask. The World Health Organization recommends if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if:
  • you are taking care of a person with a suspected infection.
  • you are coughing or sneezing.
Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with hand sanitizer or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly. Masks are in very limited supply and should be reserved for sick people and medical professionals exposed to illness. Mehlville School District does not have access to masks for routine use at school. Students and staff who are coughing and sneezing should stay home until their symptoms have improved.

If staff or students have traveled outside of the U.S. or have been exposed to someone with known COVID-19, are they permitted to attend school?
People who are returning from overseas travel are screened at the airport on reentry into this country for symptoms of illness and risk factors such as having traveled in an area where COVID-19 is circulating. Based on this screening, people are advised to return to normal activity (no identifiable risk), to self-quarantine at home (low risk), to quarantine at home with public health supervision (medium risk) or are sent to quarantine locations or hospitals (high risk). We follow the guidance provided by public health authorities, and if a person has been cleared for regular activity, they may attend school or work. We expect to be notified if a student and/or staff member was at medium or high risk. Please be mindful that this is a rapidly evolving situation, and we expect CDC will continue to update its travel guidance.
 
Where can I find more information about the coronavirus?
We are updating this dedicated Coronavirus webpage as needed with new resources and our recent communications. Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and we take this responsibility very seriously.

Who can I contact for more information in Mehlville School District?
For more information, or if you have questions or concerns, please contact your school principal or nurse. You can also contact Jennifer Ahearn, R.N., BSN, lead nurse, ahearnj@msdr9.org.



March 9, 2020: Message to Mehlville School District families and staff

Dear Mehlville School District staff and families,

We have been closely monitoring the developments related to a positive case of COVID-19 coronavirus in St. Louis County and a potential new case of COVID-19 today of a Bayer employee.

I want to reassure you that we are working diligently to keep our school environments clean, and I also want to share resources with you to help answer questions we've been receiving. At this point, the spread of COVID-19 in our area has not reached the point where health officials are recommending that schools close. However, we continue to ask our families and staff to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations that individuals stay home if they have a fever. Additionally, students and staff should not return to school until they have been fever-free for 24 hours, without the use of medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen.

According to the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, COVID-19 spreads through close contact with individuals who have COVID-19. Close contact is defined as spending time within six feet of an infected person. If you or a family member do come in direct contact with an individual who is symptomatic, please call your primary care physician. If you do not have a family doctor, call the St. Louis County Department of Health’s, South County Health Center at 314-615-0400.

We know that many families are preparing to travel over spring break. At this time, the CDC does not have any advisories in effect for travel within the United States. However, if you are planning to travel internationally to a location designated as medium or high risk (currently, that includes China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan) please notify your school principal. A full list of questions regarding COVID-19 is now available on the Mehlville School District website. 
Mehlville School District takes measures year-round, and especially during cold and flu season, to maintain healthy learning environments. We are following CDC guidelines for school environments, including regularly disinfecting surfaces such as tables, desks, chairs, door handles, handrails, light switches and computer equipment. The video below outlines our efforts.

How we're cleaning schools




















We will continue to work in partnership with public health officials and will update you if any of our responses to COVID-19 change.

Sincerely,

Chris Gaines, Ed.D. 
Superintendent
Mehlville School District



March 9, 2020: Message to Oakville High School community

Dear Oakville High School staff, students, families and community:

Today, during a science class, a student expressed concern after she received a text message that she might have been exposed to COVID-19 this weekend. The student was brought to the office to meet with the nurse and OHS administration. We investigated the information that the student received via the text message.  We spoke with the student's parents and local health officials. We confirmed that the student was not exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Mehlville School District is closely monitoring cases of COVID-19 in the St. Louis area. The district is working with our local public health officials and following all recommendations to keep our students and staff safe. The district is preparing an update to parents later this evening. 

As always, please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions,

Principal Sunkett
Oakville High School



Feb. 26, 2020: Message to Mehlville School District families and staff

Dear Mehlville School District families and staff,

Cold and flu season is in full swing, and some of our schools have seen students and staff with symptoms of influenza in recent weeks. Our schools continue to be responsive to patterns of illness by providing deeper levels of cleaning, promoting student and staff hygiene, and supporting our school nurses to provide the best care for students and staff.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Symptoms of influenza can vary but generally include a high fever, headache, chills, body aches, sore throat and cough. Here is some helpful information about the flu from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

The flu season has been complicated by recent reports of a new coronavirus (COVID-19). Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with common symptoms similar to the flu, which include a fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has established a website for those seeking more information about this new coronavirus.

When a new disease is circulating, it’s natural for people to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families. The best guidance is to take the same precautions recommended during flu season. We urge all families to continue practicing the following healthy behaviors:
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover nose and mouth with a sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick. 
  • Stay home from school and work when you are sick.
As a reminder, please keep your child home from school for the following reasons:
  • A temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. All children must be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication before returning to school.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea. Keep your child home for 24 hours after the last vomiting/diarrhea episode.
  • Any rash that is all over the body, blistery, oozing or painful, could be the first signs of a contagious disease. A student needs to be seen by a physician and a physician’s note is required before returning to school.
  • “Pink Eye” or conjunctivitis. A doctor needs to be consulted for proper treatment and before returning to school.
  • Chicken Pox. Keep your child home from school for six days after the appearance of the rash.
  • Impetigo. Keep your child home from school for 24 hours following initiation of treatment; until sores are healed, or with written permission from the doctor to return to school.
  • Head lice. Keep your child home from school until effective treatment is received and student has few or no nits.
  • Strep throat/scarlet fever. Children should not return to school until at least 24 hours after beginning an antibiotic treatment and until they are fever free.
We will continue to work with our partners at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the St. Louis County Department of Health as they monitor and manage the current situation with both the flu and novel coronavirus.

If you have any questions about the health and wellness of your children while at school, please contact your school nurse. Thank you for your partnership as we work to keep our students and staff healthy and safe at school.

Sincerely,

Chris Gaines, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Mehlville School District
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