Return to School

Mehlville School District’s Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services

Mehlville School District returned to in-person instruction for all students on Monday, April 19, 2021. The district intends to offer in-person instruction throughout the 2021-2022 school year and to follow mitigation strategies in accordance with its board-approved policies and resolutions. 

In addition to on-campus instruction, the district will continue to offer At Home, a full-time virtual program for students in grades kindergarten through 8. High school students may choose to attend virtual classes.

What follows serves as a guide to how we safely maintain in-person instruction throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

Face coverings
On Aug. 5, 2021, the Mehlville Board of Education approved the following safety measures for the start of the school year. These safety measures will help us provide a safe and consistent in-person learning environment for our students. 

For the start of the 2021-22 school year, you can expect:
  • Face coverings will be required inside all Mehlville schools and buildings until further notice.
  • Face coverings will be required on all forms of public transportation including school buses.
  • Exemptions from the face covering requirement while in a school building are possible in limited circumstances. These include accommodations through a child's 504B plan, individualized education plan (IEP), or written notification from a child’s licensed medical doctor.
  • Face covering requirements will be loosened following decreases in community transmission metrics.
As of Dec. 23, 2021, the district moved to a mask-recommended policy for grades 9-12. Individual schools serving grades 9-12 will return temporarily to a mask-required policy if the number of positive cases over the course of any week at a school exceeds 1% of the school’s population of students and adults.

As of Jan. 17, 2022, the district moved to a mask-recommended policy district-wide. Individual schools will return temporarily to a mask-required policy if the number of positive cases over the course of any week at a school exceeds 1% of the school’s population of students and adults.

As of Feb. 7, 2022, the district changed the threshold for requiring masking. Individual schools will return temporarily to a mask-required policy if the number of positive cases over the course of any week at a school exceeds 1.5% of the school’s population of students and adults. See the most recent Board of Education COVID-19 resolution for more information.

As of Feb. 28, 2022, face coverings were no longer required on school buses by a federal order.

Social Distancing
Students will have assigned seats in their classrooms and at lunch and will spread out as space allows. Students are taught social distancing practices, and outside spaces will be used as much as possible. Additionally, schools are using barriers, student cohorts/pods when distancing cannot be achieved.

Hand-washing and Respiratory Etiquette
Students and staff have access to soap and water and hand sanitizer throughout the day, including before and after lunch and after recess. Students and staff are encouraged to cough or sneeze into a tissue, dispose of the tissue and wash their hands. If no tissue is available, students and staff are instructed to cough or sneeze into their elbow. Additionally, students and staff should remain home when they do not feel good. Signs throughout our schools reinforce hand-washing and respiratory etiquette.

Cleaning and Ventilation
Custodians and other school staff will continue to clean high-touch areas on a frequent basis. Specifically: door handles, push bars on doors, drinking fountains, cafeteria surfaces, restroom surfaces and stairwell handrails will be cleaned multiple times a day. Buses will be cleaned between each transportation tier. Teachers and students will clean desktops and table tops throughout the day. Each night custodians will clean the following items: pencil sharpeners; bathroom surfaces, urinals and toilets, floors and stall dividers; desktops and tabletops; stairwell handrails; door handles and push bars. Custodians will use cleaner and disinfectant as recommended by the CDC.

HVAC systems at each building are set to provide increased intake of outside air to provide better air circulation.

Contact Tracing and Quarantines
District-directed contact tracing and exclusion from school for close contacts will cease on Dec. 23, 2021, in accordance with Judge Daniel Green’s ruling in Shannon Robinson, et. Al., v. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Any time we are notified that someone who has recently been on campus tests positive for COVID-19, a letter will be sent to the parents of all children who shared a classroom with the positive person. 

Screening and Testing
We continue to ask our students and staff to refer to our wellness checklist before coming on campus each day. This is especially important for our unvaccinated students and staff. Students or staff who answer YES to any of our wellness checklist questions will have a discussion with their principal or supervisor to determine whether it's safe to come to school.

Mehlville School District recommends students and staff with COVID symptoms get tested. COVID-19 tests are widely available throughout our community.

Vaccinations
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to prevent contracting the novel coronavirus and experiencing severe symptoms.

While this vaccine is not required by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, our school nurses recommend families consider this vaccine for their children who are 5 or older.

Mehlville School District has hosted four sets of vaccine clinics to date: one for staff in March and April, and one for students ages 12 and up in May and June, and two for kids ages 5-11 in November and December 2021. We will consider hosting future vaccine clinics for our community as needed.

A variety of locations are offering vaccines for those ages 5 and up. We have compiled those locations on the Family Support Resources section of our website.

Accommodations for students with disabilities
Accommodations are provided as necessary and as agreed upon in the student’s Individual Education Plan.

Continuity of Services
Should Mehlville School District, a school or a classroom pivot to the Connected learning model, instruction would continue virtually. Every kindergarten through 12th grade student has a district-provided Chromebook and access to Google Meets for each of their classes. Additionally, counselors, specialist teachers and therapists can meet individually and with small groups in our Connected learning model. Should we experience an extended period of Connected learning in the 2021-2022 school year, we will provide families with the opportunity to pick up grab-and-go meals at local schools.

Review of Our Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan
This plan is reviewed by district staff any time St. Louis County Department of Public Health and the CDC update their COVID-19 health orders and recommendations but no less frequently than every six months. The district takes into account parent, staff, student and community feedback related to this plan. In May 2020, the district conducted a ThoughtExchange to gather public comment and feedback on the 2020-2021 school year. You can see the results of that feedback here. A Return to School Committee, composed of teachers and school leaders, have guided and provided feedback on this plan and changes the plan since May 2020. Additionally, COVID mitigation strategies have been discussed at monthly Mehlville Board of Education meetings that include public comment periods since August. They were also discussed with parent leaders at the December President’s Council meeting. Anyone with questions or comments on this plan are encouraged to email [email protected].

This plan was last revised on March 18, 2022.

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