ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said he’s been in talks with superintendents and state leaders for about the last three weeks to see if the county had the legal authority to make its own guidance when it comes to quarantining students in county schools.
Ehlmann said they just heard back from Donald Kauerauf, the new director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and Missouri Governor Mike Parson who gave the county the go-ahead.
“There became a demand and a quest that we loosen up the rules and allow like last year to make it easier for kids on quarantine to get back into class,” Ehlmann said.
On Monday at the county council meeting, Ehlmann announced the new guidance. It means students can return back to school after having close contact with a COVID positive person at school as long as they were masked and the student remains masked when they return.
Ehlmann said the goal is to get more students who are feeling well back in the classroom and out of quarantine.
“As a former teacher I just think it’s important for kids to be there,” he said. “If things continue to get better then we can relax those standards even more, if god forbid, they get worse then we are going to have to deal with that as well.”
St. Charles City and Fort Zumwalt School districts said Tuesday this new guidance is not changing their current protocols yet.
In the Francis Howell School Districts, officials sent a letter to families Tuesday explaining how they are reacting to the latest guidance.
A letter sent to Francis Howell families Tuesday said in part:
“District leaders are reviewing this new guidance and determining if and how the revised Modified Quarantine protocol will impact Francis Howell. We expect to communicate additional information prior to or immediately following the next Board of Education meeting on Thursday, Oct. 21.”
Wentzville and Orchard Farm school districts did not return Fox 2’s call Tuesday afternoon to get an update.
“The only thing I can really promise people at this time is we are going to do everything we can to keep as many kids in the classroom safely,” Ehlmann said.