3-19-20 COVID-19 UPDATE
With the closing of district schools from March 23rd to April 3rd, many questions have been asked of the district. With this email, we hope to answer the most important questions being asked at this time. As we progress through this closure and more questions are asked of the district, we will continue to communicate with our families about ongoing services and plans for the community. Please take a moment to review the important areas listed below.
- Access to the Buildings
Monday, March 23, from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and again from 4-6 p.m., families will have access to buildings to retrieve personal belongings, pick up medicine, and pick up personal student supplies/instructional tools that might be needed during this school closure. Staff members will be on hand to offer families any assistance with item retrieval. Please use this time efficiently and do not congregate in the schools due to the Health Department’s recommendations. If you or anyone in your household is exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms, please do not come to the schools. In addition to schools being closed during this extended break, all district activities (including all sporting events and practices, concerts, musical events, etc.) and all community uses of facilities have been canceled as well.
- Access to Free Meals
Student breakfast and lunch packs will be made available during the closure of March 23 - April 3 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Both meals will be distributed at the same time. Breakfast and lunch will be available for pick-up for children ages 0-18 years of age at NO charge, even if the child is not a student in the Meramec Valley R-III School District. Meals will be offered Monday through Friday during the school closure. Each child must be present at pick-up to receive the meal. Meal distribution will be handed out by drive-up or walk-up only. If you cannot pick-up meals due to household illness or transportation limitations, please contact your child’s building principal for possible delivery options. Our Food Service staff will be handling all of the food prep and distribution.
Locations for pick-up are Coleman Elementary, Pacific Intermediate, and Robertsville Elementary. These locations are available for any child, regardless of their home address. Watch for signs at the designated distribution sites to pick-up meals. The locations of meal distribution sites are below.
Coleman Elementary- 4536 Coleman Road, Villa Ridge, MO 63089
Pacific Intermediate- 195 North Indian Pride Dr., Pacific, MO 63089
Robertsville Elementary- 4000 Highway N, Robertsville, MO 63072
- Access to Learning Opportunities (March 23 - April 3)
The district will provide instructional practice/support activities for students at home so that they do not regress on essential learning during the extended closure. Teachers will be meeting on Monday to finalize instructional plans. By the evening of Monday, March 23rd, the district will communicate instructional practice/support activities. The primary focus for learning during this time is on practice, review, and reinforcement of skills already taught. Parents without internet access or those families interested in traditional paper/pencil learning will be provided a take-home packet for students to use. Printed paper learning packets will be available beginning Tuesday, March 24th at your child’s school or at any of the three meal distribution centers.
- Assistance with Technology Access?
We have surveyed all district families about technology access to determine your child’s access to technology and the Internet. If you did not receive a survey link by email or if you were unable to complete the survey, office staff will be reaching out to you on Monday, March 23, to establish the best way for your child to access learning activities during this closure. Should you need technical support, please contact your child’s school or use the following link for Tips & Tricks on using google. https://sites.google.com/mvr3.k12.mo.us/mvr3-1to1/tips-tricks
- Future Updates
As this situation continues to progress, we will be staying in close communication with our families and community to assist them through these uncertain times. While this situation is not ideal, the Meramec Valley R-III School District will continue to do everything in its power to educate our students while helping to ensure their safety and the safety of our community. As needed, we will share information and resources through our parent notification system as well as our district website and social media channels.
3-16-20 COVID-19 SCHOOL CLOSURE PRESS RELEASE
FRANKLIN COUNTY SCHOOLS TO BE CLOSED FROM MARCH 18 TO APRIL 3
Franklin Co. (March 16, 2020) – Franklin County, along with local health and government officials, continue to monitor the latest developments regarding COVID-19, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. To help ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff, and to do our part in trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout our region, all school districts listed below are announcing an extended school closure.
This closure will begin Wed., March 18 and will preliminarily end Fri., April 3. All school activities, including athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, will be canceled during the time schools are closed.
The decision to close our school districts was extremely difficult, made in consultation with all area Superintendents and out of an abundance of caution for our families. We know that closing our schools will have a significant impact on our families, but we also believe that strong, urgent action must be taken to prevent the spread of this disease and to protect lives.
Individual school districts will be in contact with their communities to provide additional information regarding ongoing learning plans, as well as social services for those in need. All districts and schools are focused on this planning and will be in touch in the coming days through whatever communication channels are available to them. In addition, how and when potential extensions of this school closing will be decided are also under discussion and will be shared as soon as these decisions have been made.
Our goal is always to protect the safety, health, and wellness of our students, staff, and families. Our strength as a community is our greatest asset. In making this decision, we are working together to protect each other and slow the progression of COVID-19. We will continue to remain in contact with public health officials, elected leaders, and neighboring school districts and keep parents and media updated with new information as it becomes available. We thank our community for their support and partnership in this effort.
Franklin County R-II School District
Lonedell R-14 School District
Meramec Valley R-III School District
New Haven School District
Spring Bluff R-15 school District
St. Clair R-13 School District
Strain-Japan R-16 School District
Sullivan School District
Union R-XI School District
School District of Washington
Crosspoint Christian School
3-15-20 Message from Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Mulford
Dear Parents, Guardians, & Community,
Today, many districts located in St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson Counties announced plans to close for an extended period of time due to the ever changing landscape related to COVID-19, otherwise known as the Novel Coronavirus. I’m sure many are wondering if/when MVR-III will make a similar decision.
Over the course of the past several days, MVR-III district administrators have been working on various contingency plans in case we would need to close schools. District officials continue to collaborate with health officials and other area leaders to make decisions that are best for our community as a whole. As you are aware, our schools are on spring break this week, which gives us a little more time to digest current information and make the best decision we can. I will be meeting on Monday with the Franklin County Health Department and Superintendent’s to discuss COVID-19, the health department recommendations, and the best way to proceed following spring break.
Again, we thank you for your patience and understanding through this process. Please be looking for additional information no later than Wednesday, March 18.
Dr. John Mulford, Ed.D.
3-12-20 Message from Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Mulford
Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,
With COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) continuing to be a lead story in the media, we recognize that many people have questions regarding how it will impact schools. As we continue to see announcements of professional and collegiate sports seasons/events being suspended, concerts being cancelled, colleges moving classes to online, as well as the cancellation of other events where large crowds assemble, we know that you might be thinking that it’s just a matter of time before schools will be impacted.
There is no higher priority for our entire Meramec Valley School District family than the safety of our students, staff, and community. MVR-III would like to take this opportunity to share the proactive measures we have been taking while also providing accurate information about the COVID-19 virus.
MVR-III officials have been in regular communication with health officials on almost a daily basis. In fact, district leaders attended a meeting this morning with the City of Pacific Emergency Management Team and yesterday afternoon with the St. Louis County Health Department. The Health Department even had three (3) epidemiologists at the meeting to address questions and provide factual information.
At this time, and after consulting with health experts and other emergency personnel, there are no immediate plans to close school or alter the schedule. Rather, the health department recommends addressing any situation that presents itself on a case-by-case basis. It is important to note that at the time of this writing there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Franklin or Jefferson County and only one in St. Louis County.
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) to help you better understand COVID-19 and what it means for our students and community:
*NOTE: The information provided below regarding COVID-19 was provided by the St. Louis County Health Department
What is COVID-19?
- A strain of coronavirus is causing a respiratory disease, called COVID-19, with key symptoms that include coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing.
- Most cases are mild, but it’s important to limit the spread of the disease because certain populations can become seriously ill and die.
- Senior citizens and those with existing health problems, like heart disease or diabetes, are most at risk.
COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person by:
- Respiratory droplets that spread into the air when someone coughs or sneezes
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
Symptoms develop anywhere from 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus.
People are believed to be most contagious when their symptoms are most severe.
Hand-washing and good hygiene are the most important methods of prevention.
What is Meramec Valley R-III doing to prevent the spread of disease?
- MVR-III performs routine cleaning with a special focus on regularly touched surfaces like doorknobs.
- We are also emphasizing hand-washing and cough etiquette and asking our staff take extra precaution to ensure young children wash properly.
- We are supplying additional hand sanitizer to all buildings.
- We are staying in regular communication with health officials and following their guidance.
- Over spring break, custodial staff will carry out a general cleaning of facilities, districtwide.
Will Meramec Valley R-III close schools?
Currently, St. Louis County Department of Public Health officials do not recommend closing schools.
If schools are closed, how will students continue to access their education?
Meramec Valley R-III administrators and staff are currently working to develop alternative learning plans in the event they are needed. While we don’t expect this to occur, we will be prepared.
Are health-related absences due to COVID-19 concerns excused from school?
We want to reiterate that families know what is best for their children and we will honor your decision to keep your child home from school when they are sick. Some children and family members may be at higher risk for severe illness because of underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system. We are asking parents to communicate with their child’s school if you will be keeping him or her home for any reason.
How will the Meramec Valley R-III School District keep families, staff and students informed regarding coronavirus?
Any district updates will be conveyed through regular district channels – including email and messaging, the district website (www.mvr3.k12.mo.us) and social media.
When should a student or staff member stay home?
If students or staff experience fever of 100 degrees or higher, cough and/or difficulty breathing, the CDC recommends they should stay home from school and contact their health care provider immediately.
Will school events and travel be cancelled?
School events, including athletics and local field trips, are not cancelled at this time, but that remains a possibility.
What conversations should parents have with their children at home?
We know families, staff and students are concerned. We are committed to keeping you informed and working with you to keep our school communities safe. Would you like some resources to share with your children? Here’s an informative graphic resource from NPR.
Where can I turn for more information?
Rest assured, we are monitoring this developing situation closely, staying in regular contact with federal agencies, health organizations and other experts. We will continue to adjust our operations according to the recommendations of health authorities as the situation develops. On March 11, the MO DHSS opened a statewide public hotline for citizens needing guidance regarding COVID-19. That hotline is operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is 877-435-8411.
Use the following link to get Important Information For Those Who Travel During The Coming Weeks.
3-9-20 COVID-19 UPDATE
It is important to share with you that Meramec Valley R-III administrators are keeping on top of the latest developments with COVID-19 (Coronavirus). In fact, district leaders from K-12 schools from the St. Louis region met last week with medical experts, including those with the St. Louis County Health Department, to better understand how we can prepare and respond if this virus hits our community. Please keep in mind this is a rapidly evolving situation.
We are working to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff in light of the COVID-19 case in St. Louis County. The district has been and will continue to be in regular communication with public health officials, the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, and monitoring advisories issued for schools by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The risk of infection from coronavirus is very low for the general public in the United States. However, as a precaution, our custodial staff has been ramping up our already aggressive cleaning/disinfecting practices. A deep clean of all buildings and buses will take place over spring break, next week. Again, we are in frequent contact with the Department of Public Health and we are monitoring CDC guidance for regular updates related to coronavirus. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has developed this helpful fact sheet about Coronavirus.
In the meantime, as we do during any cold and flu season, we urge all families and staff members to continue to maintain healthy habits and to take steps to help prevent the spread of illness. These include, but are not limited to:
Wash hands often with soap and water - Hand Washing Guide
If not available, use hand sanitizer
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid contact with people who are sick
Stay home while you are sick
Avoid close contact with others
Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
Please be assured that our staff will continue to monitor illness and absences in our schools, continue our frequent cleaning procedures to maintain healthy learning and work environment, and continue to monitor guidance from county, state and federal health agencies related to any and all communicable diseases. We will also work to keep you informed if there are any changes or updates related to illnesses in our schools.
Thank you for your help in keeping our students and staff healthy!
2-29-20 Influenza & COVID-19 Update
In an effort to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff during cold and flu season, we want to provide you with an update regarding our efforts. District administration follow updates provided by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services(DHSS), Franklin County Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Due to recent cases of influenza and other illnesses, our custodial staff members are increasing their routine cleaning measures to include more frequent disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and desktops, as well as applying disinfectant throughout buildings.
Flu season has been complicated by the arrival of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Common symptoms are similar to the flu and include fever, cough,shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Most people are not considered at risk for COVID-19 and do not need to seek medical evaluation for the virus. According to the CDC, “There is no evidence that children are more susceptible.” Missouri DHSS and the CDC have websites dedicated to information about this new illness.
As a reminder, staff and students exhibiting influenza symptoms should stay home from school and should not return until generally feeling well, and being fever-free for at least 24 hours. The District takes every precaution to ensure that our school buildings are cleaned effectively, and we ask that all families help us promote healthy behaviors necessary during any cold and flu season. These include but are not limited to:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
- Use an alcohol-based hand cleaner 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 when you are sick.
- Get vaccinated for the flu yearly (ages 6 months and older).
Student and staff safety is always a top priority of the Meramec Valley R-III School District. Our staff will continue to work closely with the Franklin County Department of Public Health to monitor and manage the current situation with both the flu and COVID-19. We will, of course, share additional information with our school communities as needed. We appreciate your help in keeping everyone healthy during this cold and flu season.