ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Parkway School District will meet this week to decide whether to extend its mask mandate beyond the mid-January expiration date.
Last month, the Parkway school board voted to change its masking policy from required to recommended, starting Jan. 18. However, when Parkway board members approved the change, they also decided to hold another meeting this Thursday to analyze the COVID situation before moving forward with the new policy.
Cathy Hubert, a nurse at Highcroft Ridge Elementary in the Parkway School District, said this year has been especially hectic. With so many kids visiting her office, she sometimes has them line up in the hallway.
Hubert said students with other illnesses, like asthma or diabetes, can get sicker if they get COVID-19.
“Anybody with a respiratory background illness that gets sick or gets a virus in the wintertime, they’re sicker than they normally would be if they didn’t have those things,” she said. “We’ll have kiddos that are perfectly fine and they’ll come in and they a temperature of 102.3 or something. And you’re like okay, we need to get you home and get you tested and seen by your primary care physician.”
In Eureka, the Rockwood School will also hold an emergency virtual meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday to vote on extending its mandate beyond Jan. 18.
A total of 1,380 patients are currently hospitalized for COVID when confirmed and suspected cases are combined, according to the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force. That is a new record high for the pandemic. Additionally, 56 pediatric patients are hospitalized with the virus.