ST. LOUIS – Schools hoping to reopen soon for the fall semester even as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues have their assignment: “Establish and maintain safe and healthy environments for staff and students.”
That’s the overall goal set by school and city officials in a detailed list released on the city’s website.
“The guidance is based on scientific evidence available on July 5, 2020, and may change as more information becomes available,” the statement warns.
Each school district must have a plan to deal with infectious diseases including the current virus. Each must keep records of everyone who enters each of its buildings. Students’ desks must be at least six feet apart, and social contacts must be kept to a minimum.
Staff and students in fourth grade and above must wear face masks in the buildings and on school buses; and the school day will start with health and temperature checks.
As in every year, students must have the required immunizations.
The officials noted that Americans “have a culture of working or going to school when sick. We should change that culture.” People who are sick should stay home, the officials said, adding, “Perfect attendance awards must be eliminated.”
The full document is on the city’s website, stlouis.mo.gov.
Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has announced that Missouri will use $125 million in federal CARES Act funds to help schools as they re-open.
And the CDC is sticking to its school-opening guidelines despite criticism by President Donald Trump.
“Our guidelines are our guidelines,” Dr. Robert Redfield declared.
Draft CDC documents say that schools can take steps to safely reopen but that the agency “cannot provide one-size-fits-all criteria for opening and closing schools or changing the way schools are run. Decisions about how to open and run schools safely should be made based on local needs and conditions.”
Trump criticized the CDC’s guidelines on Wednesday as “very tough and expensive” and said the agency was “asking schools to do very impractical things.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.