JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – School districts in Jefferson County are finalizing COVID protocol plans for a new school year as cases in children surge.
Traditional back-to-school events are underway, but this is no traditional school year.
Total Hair Care salon in High Ridge is offering haircuts to students for $5. The proceeds are going to Maple Grove Elementary School in the Northwest R-1 District.
Many parents and school administrators are expressing concern over an alarming increase in the number of Jefferson County children aged 0-19 who are infected with COVID. The cases jumped 352 percent from June to July.
“An increase in cases among our youth is especially concerning obviously because back to school season is coming up, but we know that of that 0-19 age range our 0-12-year-old’s aren’t able to be vaccinated,” said Brianne Zwiener, Jefferson County Health Department public communications officer.
Festus R-6 School District Superintendent doctorate Link Luttrell said, “Any type of data of that magnitude you know is concerning to us and we consider that with other multiple avenues of information as well before we make a final decision.”
Jefferson County is in the COVID red zone. Total COVID cases per 100,000 residents are 220.89. The threshold for moving into the red zone is 100.
Schools districts in Jefferson County will have the first day of class later this month. Some school superintendents are finalizing their COVID protocols
“We’re trying to finalize what our return to school plan will be and it is my hope that we can share our final plan hopefully sometime y late next week,” Luttrell said.
The county health department has an education task force that regularly shares information with the school districts about COVID recommendations.
“The K-12 guidance from the CDC is recommending that individuals who are in school wear a mask regardless of vaccination status especially within public places where you’re around who can’t be vaccinated,” Zwiener said.
High Ridge parent Stephanie Liverar said, “I think that small children wearing a mask is hard keeping them to keep it on that’s why I say maybe social distancing teach them to stay far apart or as best they can.”
Most Jefferson County school districts expect to have their covid protocols finalized by next week.