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Special School District of St. Louis County
 

Coronavirus (COVID-19)


See "Family & Student Resources" on the right side of this page to access learning resources for use during school closures.


Updated March 23, 2020

To remain consistent with the St. Louis City and St. Louis County Stay-At-Home Orders that began today, SSD schools, sites, programs, offices and facilities will remain closed through Wednesday, April  22.

SSD made its decision in collaboration with other school districts, with guidance from local health and government officials, and in the best interest of the health and safety of our students, staff, and communities.



Frequently Asked Questions:


Updated March 23, 2020
  1. What is COVID-19? 
    COVID-19 is the name of the newly detected coronavirus that can cause respiratory illness. It may be spread from person to person, and possibly from touching surfaces that have the virus on them.

  2. What is Special School District doing about COVID-19?  
    After much consideration and after consulting with school districts and schools in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, and with the St. Louis County Department of Health, SSD closed its schools, programs, sites and operational facilities on Wednesday, March 18. SSD was tentatively scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6. However, after both St. Louis City and St. Louis County issued a 30-day Stay-At-Home Order that began on Monday, March 23, the District decided that its schools, sites, programs, offices and facilities would remain closed through Wednesday, April 22. SSD made its decision in collaboration with other school districts, with guidance from local health and government officials, and in the best interest of the health and safety of our students, staff, and communities.

  3. How can I find out the latest news about what the District is doing? 
    Important information will appear on SSD’s website and Facebook page. If you have specific information regarding the health of a child or adult, please contact your school or site immediately. District staff is dedicating their time to planning and working with agencies proactively.

  4. What can I do to keep myself and my child healthy?
    To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 and flu, follow these important tips:
    • Wash your hands frequently 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 eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Practice social distancing.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  5. How can we help prevent the spread of the virus?
    It is recommended that when washing hands, wash them thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. It is also recommended to cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away in the trash. Clean frequently used objects and surfaces daily. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

For Families of Students Who Attend SSD Schools

  1. My child has flu-like symptoms, what should I do?
    You should contact your child’s physician and inform him or her of the illness.

  2. Will families be notified if an SSD staff member or student in an SSD school tests positive for COVID-19?
    We will follow notification guidelines from the local health department should SSD receive notice of any staff or student testing positive for COVID-19. Please know that the District is committed to maintaining the privacy of our students and staff. Our schools will work with students and families under mandatory or self-quarantine with sensitivity and confidentiality.

  3. Who should I contact if I have questions about COVID-19?
    We will continue to keep our students, staff and families informed as we receive guidance from public health officials. If you have any questions, please continue to visit SSD’s website or Facebook page. Other reliable information can also be found on the CDC’s website. In addition, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has a 24-hour hotline at 877.435.8411 that is staffed by medical professionals. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health also has a 24-hour hotline at 314.615.2660.

  4. How will my child access learning while schools are closed?
    Schools have prepared several different items based on your student’s ability to access learning. You may be receiving information from your child’s teacher and we have provided a list of several resources for our students and families. Alternative Method of Instruction for Students in SSD Schools and Academic and Related Services/Activities/Resources from SSD are located on the right side of this page under Family and Student Resources.

  5. What help will be available to me and my child as we use the Alternative Method of Instruction?
    All parents will receive information on the hours that teachers are available to students during the school day. Parents are encouraged to notify the building principal if they do not hear from their student’s instructor in a timely manner.

  6. Who should I contact if my child cannot log in to the digital platform or if I don’t have internet access?
    Contact the building principal or designee if you child can’t log in to the digital platform. If your family doesn’t have internet access, also contact the building principal or designee so that a plan can be created for the student.

  7. What if my child is being evaluated or re-evaluated? Or what if my child’s IEP comes due while schools are closed? 
    Because schools are closed and everyone should be practicing “social distancing,” it is impossible to convene an evaluation conference or IEP meeting. These activities will be completed by your child’s teacher or other school staff as soon as possible after schools re-open.

For Families of Students Who Receive
Services from SSD in Partner Districts

  1. Why are schools closed?
    Based on guidance from the St. Louis County Health Department, it was decided that schools would be closed until at least April 6. This would allow school districts to clean and disinfect schools and minimize the risk that students or staff will be exposed to someone who has COVID-19 (coronavirus). However, after both St. Louis City and St. Louis County issued a 30-day Stay-At-Home Order that began on Monday, March 23, St. Louis Public Schools and all the school districts in St. Louis County decided together to keep their schools closed through Wednesday, April 22. The districts made the decision with guidance from local health and government officials, and in the best interest of the health and safety of students, staff, and communities.

  2. How are schools educating children while schools are closed?
    The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is allowing school districts to continue their students’ education in a variety of ways and it varies by school district. Some districts are providing virtual or online instruction. Others are sending homework packets. For students who attend SSD’s special education and technical high schools, the option used depends on the work that the student has been doing this year in school.

  3. How will my child receive their special education and related services while school is closed?
    If your child’s school is making work available to its students, SSD will provide services to your child to the extent possible. SSD’s plan is that this will be done remotely. Your child’s teacher should be contacting you periodically during the closure to provide information about how you can support your child in doing the work, and to support your child in completing the work using learning strategies or approaches they already use in school. You may also contact your child’s teacher through the means you have available (email, phone, Class Dojo, or other communication tools).

  4. What about speech/language therapy or other related services?
    Social workers, speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists have assembled activities that you can do at home to help your child maintain their skills. You can access these activities through your child’s teacher.

  5. What if my child does not receive any special education services at all during the school closure?
    SSD must provide services to the extent possible. However, with the requirements from the St. Louis County Department of Health, this must be done remotely. If your child’s district made instruction available to students, but your child did not receive any special education services, your child’s IEP team should convene as soon as possible when schools re-open to determine whether your child should receive any compensatory services, what they will be, and how they will be provided.

  6. What if my child is being evaluated or re-evaluated? What if my child’s IEP comes due while schools are closed? 
    Because schools are closed and everyone should be practicing “social distancing,” it is impossible to convene an evaluation conference or IEP meeting. These activities will be completed by your child’s teacher or other school staff as soon as possible after schools re-open.

  7. Who should I call if I have any questions or need help supporting my child to do his work?
    As always, your first point of contact should be your child’s teacher/case manager.



Previous Updates:



Message to Families of Students Who Attend SSD Schools –
March 20, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians/Families,

Special School District continues to closely monitor and work with the St. Louis County Health Department regarding COVID-19 surveillance.

We are aware that two preschool teachers and a parent have tested positive for COVID-19 at Deutsch Early Childhood Center at Temple Israel. SSD provides transportation services to this center.

Temple Israel sent a message to its congregation on Thursday informing them that two teachers and a parent associated with the school have tested positive for the virus. The email says the teachers are now recovering but were inside the Deutsch Early Childhood Center on March 11 and March 6 respectively while students and other staff were also there. 

The St. Louis County Health Department has investigated all three cases and has already contacted the other people who may have been exposed through these three cases.

We encourage you to take simple precautionary actions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including washing hands often with soap and water; appropriately covering coughs and sneezes; and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Anyone who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 or who is experiencing symptoms should call the St. Louis County Department of Public Health hotline at 314-615-2660.

Stay safe!

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Keenan, Ph.D.
SSD Superintendent

Message to Families of Students Who Attend SSD Schools –
March 16, 2020

Dear Families of Students in SSD Schools,

After much consideration and after consulting with school districts and schools in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, and with the St. Louis County Department of Health, SSD will be closing its schools, programs, sites and operational facilities beginning Wednesday, March 18.

Our schools have prepared several different items based on your student’s ability to access learning. You may be receiving information from your child’s teacher and we have provided a list of several resources for our students and families to access.
  • Parents should contact the building principal (or designee) if their child cannot log in to the digital platform.
  • Parents are encouraged to notify the building principal if they do not hear from their student’s instructor in a timely manner.
  • All parents will receive information on the hours that teachers are available to students.
  • Any family that does not have internet access should contact the building principal or designee and we will create a plan for this student.
  • All meetings, including student/family, IEPs, evaluations and re-evaluations will be rescheduled. 
  • See "Family & Student Resources" on the right side of this page for links to resources.

Here are links to several additional online resources:

Message to Families of Students Who Attend SSD Schools –
March 15, 2020

After much consideration and after consulting with school districts and schools in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, and with the St. Louis County Department of Health, SSD will be closing its schools, programs, sites and operational facilities beginning Wednesday, March 18.

Students and staff at SSD schools, programs, sites and operational facilities who are not ill should report to school and/or work on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, to prepare for student instruction and to plan for continuation of District operations while schools and facilities are closed. SSD schools, programs, sites and operational facilities are tentatively scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6.

Message to Families of Students Who Attend SSD Schools –
March 13, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians/Families:

As you likely already know, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Missouri in St. Louis County over the weekend. We wanted to let you know that we continue to closely monitor reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the St. Louis County Health Department. In addition, we are including a list below that answers many of the questions we have received.

We do want to stress that we have increased disinfection of commonly used surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, desks and chairs in our schools. Our school buses are also disinfected frequently. We are reminding our students and staff to wash their hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly, and to cover coughs and sneezes.

As a reminder, if your child will not be attending school for any reason, it is very important for you to call and notify the school office of the reason for the absence so that we can track and monitor any illness-related absences. Please remember that we are asking students to stay home if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100 or higher in the past 24 hours
  • Undiagnosed rash
  • Bad cough or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours
  • Symptoms of being sick such as being unusually tired, fussy or pale

If you or your child are not feeling well, please call your healthcare provider for further guidance.

We also recognize that spring break will be here very soon, and travel guidelines are constantly being updated. Please be advised that you can seek up-to-date travel information and recommendations from the CDC on its website at www.cdc.gov.

Thanks for all you do to help keep your children and our schools healthy and safe.

Message to Families of Students Who Attend SSD Schools –
Feb. 28, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

The health of our students, staff, families and community is extremely important to us. We wanted to provide you with an update regarding the precautions that are being taken to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illnesses.

As you may know, the 2019-20 flu season has been complicated by the arrival of Coronavirus or COVID-19. At this time, no cases of COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus) have been identified in St. Louis County or Missouri. However, the District continues to monitor this situation and to work under the guidance of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It is most commonly spread (like other viruses) through the air by coughing and sneezing; 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 before washing your hands; and rarely by fecal contamination. The CDC believes the symptoms of COVID-19 appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Risk of contracting COVID-19 is based on exposure. And when a new disease is circulating, it’s natural for people to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families. At this time, the guidance provided is to take the same precautions recommended during flu season:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and
    doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • Do not send your child back to school following an illness until symptom-and
    fever-free (100F or greater) for at least 24 hours without the use of fever- or symptom-reducing medications.
  • Get your flu shot.

The District implements the following strategies to decrease the spread of illness:

  • Routinely cleans all frequently touched surfaces in schools and on buses.
  • Provides disposable wipes so commonly used surfaces can be wiped down before use.
  • Provides alcohol-based hand rubs.
  • Advises employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness to stay home and not return until free of fever (100F or greater), any signs of a fever, or any other symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptoms-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).

While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help keep our students, staff, families and community healthy. Thank you for doing your part!

Family and Student Resources
COVID-19 Resources
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12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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