DESE-Related Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Updated March 13, 2020 (7:10 a.m.)
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Website and Hotline: DHSS's COVID-19 webpage contains any and all COVID-19-related information for Missourians, and is updated frequently. DESE officials remain in close communication with colleagues at DHSS to stay informed about COVID-19 and the current situation in Missouri. DHSS has activated a statewide public hotline - 877-435-8411 - for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. It is operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- CTSO Conference Update: As of Friday, March 13, state activities are scheduled to take place as planned for the following CTSOs: HOSA, TSA, SkillsUSA, FFA and FBLA (Middle Level Leadership, PBL and State Conference). DESE officials remain in close communication with colleagues at DHSS to stay informed about COVID-19 and the current situation in Missouri. If event plans change, CTSO conference attendees will be notified as quickly as possible. All DESE-related COVID-19 messages and updates, including event changes will be posted on this webpage.
- DECA State Conference Now Using Virtual Platform: Under the proclamation of a state of emergency in Kansas City, events scheduled in Kansas City with more than 1,000 attendees are cancelled. That means DECA’s State Career Development Conference (SCDC) will not take place in Kansas City. Instead, DECA will use a virtual platform to determine our state winners. Details pertaining to testing and written event projects will be emailed to chapter advisors and posted on the Missouri DECA website. Please remain connected with DECA’s social media channels (and this webpage) for more updates as they emerge.
- FCCLA State Conference Postponed: In light of the issues and concerns surrounding COVID-19, DESE has made the decision to postpone the FCCLA 2020 state conference and all of its associated events. While a variety of factors influenced this decision, the health and safety of students and stakeholders was the primary concern. FCCLA staff members are working with Tan-Tar-A Conference Center and other entities that are critical to hosting a successful conference to identify possible dates for rescheduling the event. We apologize for the disruption this decision will cause to school schedules and travel plans. Please know that the decision was not made lightly, and that it was made with the best interest of FCCLA members in mind.
- DESE Response to School Closure/AMI Questions: The public attention surrounding COVID-19 has led to several questions about what will happen if a school must close for an extended period of time. While COVID-19 is the current focus, it is important to remember that this is not the first time that illness, natural disaster or other events have affected school operations. DESE has historically worked with districts when exceptional circumstances cause school closures. As with any situation where a possible closure can be anticipated, districts are encouraged to consider what alternative plans can be developed and implemented to support student learning in the absence of standard instructional practices.
- School Closure Decision-Making: If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in your community, we encourage local education agencies (LEAs) to work closely with local health officials and seek their guidance on the next steps for your school(s). In the event of a confirmed case, epidemiological investigators would work quickly to determine what individuals came into close contact with the infected person; the infected person and those who were determined to have close contact with that individual while considered contagious would be those asked to self-quarantine and monitor their health for any development of systems. It is important to keep in mind that a school closure may not be warranted in all circumstances when a student or staff member contracts COVID-19.
- CDC Issues Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Schools: Health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are taking steps to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Schools can play an important role in this effort. Through collaboration and coordination with local health departments, schools can take steps to disseminate information about the disease and its potential transmission within their school community. Information provided in the guidance at the link below should help schools understand how to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 within their school communities and facilities. The guidance also aims to help schools react quickly should a case be identified. The guidance includes considerations to help administrators plan for the continuity of teaching and learning if there is community spread of COVID-19. Read the CDC guidance information here.
- CDC Handwashing Guidance: With concerns in the media and among our citizens gaining more attention, it is very important to stress that the most effective method for preventing the spread of virus is simply using good hygiene, especially effective, thorough handwashing. Please take two minutes to watch this CDC video which answers important questions about handwashing and hand sanitizer.
- CDC Travel Guidance: In an effort to continue providing safe learning environments, and assist in the effort to slow the exposure to and/or the spread of COVID-19, LEAs may choose to follow the CDC Travel Guidance here for people returning from a country under a travel advisory, which currently includes China, Italy, South Korea, Iran and Japan, and ask students/staff to stay home from school for 14 calendar days upon their return to the United States. Please note that the CDC’s list of travel advisories may change rapidly; follow the link above to stay informed about those advisory updates.
- COVID-19 & Food & Nutrition Services: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DESE have received questions from Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) officials asking how their programs and operations could be impacted as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, continue normal program operations. If a public health emergency happens in your community, such as an outbreak of COVID-19, USDA Foods currently in your local inventory can be used as an emergency feeding source for your community without prior approval or permission from DESE Food and Nutrition Services.
- Coding COVID-19-Related Absences: Any student absence related to COVID-19 would be coded/entered like any other student absence related to illness.
- COVID-19 Cyber Scams: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warns individuals to remain vigilant for scams related to COVID-19. Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts or calls related to COVID-19.
- Missouri State Capitol and Museum Tours: Legislative leadership is encouraging guests who are not directly participating in legislative business to refrain from visiting the Capitol at this time. This guidance would include scheduled school field trips. Additional precautions being taken include closing the House Chamber floor to the public and the House Lounge (location of the Benton Mural) to public tours. The Missouri State Capitol and Missouri State Museum currently remain open. If you have questions or decide to cancel the planned field trip, please contact the Missouri State Museum at 573-751-2854. Updates will be provided on the Missouri State Parks website and on the Missouri State Museum Facebook page.