Dear Zizzer Families,
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Plains School District has worked closely with the Howell County Health Department, following the guidelines as recommended and as outlined in our Return to School plan. This week school districts and public health agencies across Missouri received a letter from the Missouri Attorney General with significant implications for how school districts and local communities can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter cites a recent court ruling which may prohibit the Howell County Health Department from authorizing local COVID19 mitigation strategies in our schools.
Since the guidance has changed, the district’s COVID-19 health protocols will change through the end of the first semester on December 17. The district board of education will meet on Tuesday, December 21, for a regularly scheduled board meeting and to discuss any updates for the second semester.
- Through the end of the 1st semester (December 17), all students in quarantine, except those that are deemed a close contact through a home exposure, will be allowed to return to school. Test to stay has been suspended as of December 8.
- The Health department will not be directing students to quarantine due to a close contact.
- If a student or teacher is determined to be a close contact due to a positive case in the household, they will be allowed to return to school but must test to stay.
- Students who participate in MSHSSA sanctioned events and test positive for the COVID-19 virus will follow the same protocol that is currently in place. The quarantine period for positive students will include ten days of no practice or interscholastic competition. If the student is asymptomatic after the ten days, they must be released by a physician before beginning the five stages of return to play. This ensures no post-infection issues relative to the heart after the student is released for physical activity.
- Students and teachers that test positive for COVID-19 will be excluded from school for ten days from onset of symptoms and should be fever-free for 24 hours without medication.
- The Howell County Health Department will still notify the district of positive cases within the school.
As the first semester draws to a close, we remain focused on providing all students with a safe, healthy learning environment. Our goal is to keep students and staff members safe and healthy and keep as many students learning, in-person as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Please contact us at the district office if you have any questions.
Dr. Lori Wilson
Superintendent of Schools
West Plains School District