ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – Sunday Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill said both schools will be closed Monday, March 9th, after St. Louis County health officials notified the schools that the St. Louis County woman identified as being infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus was the older sister to a student at Villa Duchesene. Both of the schools are independent Catholic schools in Frontenac. Villa is an all-girls school for grades 7 through 12, and Oak Hill is a coed preschool through 6 grades.
In a statement released by the schools on Sunday, the school leaders say they are cooperating with St. Louis County Department of Public Health to mitigate risk and maintain a safe environment for students, staff and the public. Saturday, a St. Louis County woman was confirmed to be as Missouri’s first reported case of having the coronavirus, now known as COVID-19.
The schools also sent out a notice to the parents of students at the schools stating that two members of the family had attended a school dance Saturday night. The statement further said the two family members left the dance once they were informed that their daughter had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis issue the following statement for those who attended the dance:
“We continue to work with state and local health officials through the Archdiocese of St. Louis regarding the first positive case of the COVID-19 coronavirus in St. Louis County on March 7th. The young woman who tested positive has a younger sister who attended the Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School Father-Daughter dance last night.
All students, faculty and staff who have family members that attended the dance should please stay home and contact the St Louis County Department of Health Hotline at (314) 615-2660. Officials manning the hotline will give you information on testing and the need to self-quarantine.
If your student falls in this category, please contact the school office on Monday so that we can work with our teachers and get the classwork to you to ensure that your student does not fall behind.
If your student does not fall into this category, the decision about whether or not to send your child to school is always your decision. Should you decide it is in the best interest of your family to keep your student home, please notify the school.
If you or a close relative has traveled to an area where the COVID-19 coronavirus is present, you are asked to stay home, self-quarantine, and contact the St Louis County Department of Health Hotline at (314) 615-2660.
In addition to providing a quality faith-based education, the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority. We will keep you updated with any new information that we receive from the Archdiocese of St. Louis and state and local health officials.”
During a Saturday press conference held in Clayton at the St. Louis County Executive’s Office, Governor Mike Parson, and County Executive Sam Page confirmed the state's first case, and that state health officials were waiting for further confirmation from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta for additional confirmation. County Executive Sam Page said that the woman in her 20s was a student at an out of state college and had been in Italy studying abroad.
Officials here have said the woman contacted the St. Louis County coronavirus hotline this past Friday about her illness and was directed to go to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur for testing. After being evaluated in an isolated room at the hospital, she was discharged after it was determined she did not need to be hospitalized. Health officials informed her and her family would have to self-quarantine at their home.
Currently, the U.S. confirms around 500 cases of COVID-19, and the Italian government has locked down most of northern Italy, closing schools and placing travel restrictions on millions of people trying to stop the spread of the virus.