Important Message from Dr. Cain

March 15, 2020 ~ To all WSD Families

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Good Evening,

After meeting today with the leaders of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health, we have made a decision to proactively close all schools in the Wentzville School District in response to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning tomorrow Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3. All school activities, including athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, will be canceled during the time schools are closed. The goal of the timing and length of this closure is to proactively decelerate the transmission of the virus by limiting contact among individuals for a length of time that could potentially have a similar impact as a quarantine. According to health officials, the practice of social distancing can significantly decrease the ability of a virus to spread and keep those who may be more vulnerable to the illness safe.

Our schools serve as places of learning, but they also are sources of comfort, routine, support, and nutrition for thousands of children in the community. As you know, our staff has been diligently working to prepare for this contingency and plans are in place to maintain support for students during the extended closure. We will care for our staff by ensuring that their pay continues during specified days of the emergency closure. We want staff to focus on students, their families, and staying healthy themselves. Staff will continue to ensure students have access to instructional resources and food, as well as social-emotional support. We are still developing the logistics of those plans, but we will use all communication channels to alert families about how to take advantage of these resources in the coming days and weeks, and provide frequent updates via the District website, texts, emails, and social media. The deep cleaning and sanitation process in all District buildings that began last week will continue during the closure.

In the Wentzville School District, we put the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff above all else. The decision to close our schools was extremely difficult, made in consultation with all area superintendents and health officials and out of an abundance of caution for our families. While we may never know if these proactive measures were impactful in slowing the spread of COVID-19, we would be quite certain of the outcome if we didn’t close and there was an outbreak that spread through our schools affecting our community. We are also keenly aware that this emergency closure will have a significant impact on our families, presenting a hardship and childcare challenges for many, but we feel it is a necessary step to aid in the welfare of our community in this unprecedented situation.

In the meantime, please follow the advice of our health officials: Practice proper handwashing and social distancing, but also be mindful that our children look to us for guidance. Model calm and help reassure them that the adults in their lives are doing everything in their power to keep them safe. Thank you for advocating for our students and thank you for being an unbelievably supportive community. Your trust means a great deal to our staff and administrators, and we are confident that we will get through this challenging time together.

Curtis Cain, Ph.D.

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