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WEDNESDAY UPDATES: Fulton Public Schools extends closure through May 1

MGN Online

COVID-19 case numbers might differ among state and local health authorities because of issues with reporting and address verification.

UPDATE 9:00 P.M.: Fulton Public Schools will now be closed through May 1 because of COVID-19.

The school board approved the measure during a special meeting over Zoom on Wednesday night. The decision was made in order to align with the federal social distancing order.

The district is now set to reopen May 4 unless federal, state or local government officials continue either a stay-at-home order or a social distancing order.

The board also voted to move forward with a program to provide childcare for first responders.

Superintendent Jacque Cowherd said the district was considering Bush Elementary as an option.

Officials said they were aware of seven or eight children that might participate. Leaders plan to follow up with those families.

According to meeting documents, the superintendent is authorized to close the program in the event of illness with students or staff participating.

UPDATE 4:45 P.M.: Cole County's health department director on Wednesday extended the county's stay-at-home order to coincide with a state order.

Director Kristi Campbell signed a revised order that will be in effect until noon on April 25. The order went into effect March 28 and had been set to expire April 11.

Cole County's order allows residents to go out for essential services and recreation but limits the activities of non-essential businesses.

Campbell said the new order clarifies some provisions on deliveries by non-essential businesses and adopts limits on the number of people who can be in essential retail establishments such as restaurants.

Cole County reported 35 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday with one death. Of the infected patients, 16 have recovered.

Earth Day Festival canceled

Organizers said Wednesday that Columbia's annual Earth Day Festival has been postponed.

"The uncertainty surrounding the virus makes it impossible to plan a future date at this time," even coordinator Laura Wacker wrote in an email.

Organizers plan to have online events to celebrate Earth Day, including a virtual art show on April 22. This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Wacker said.

UPDATE 3:37 P.M.: The Callaway County Health Department said Wednesday 19 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county.

Since Tuesday, county health officials have confirmed one new case of novel coronavirus.

The health department said there are five active cases. According to the website, 13 people with coronavirus have recovered.

Callaway, Boone, Saline and Cole counties all confirmed new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. At least 221 people in Mid-Missouri have tested positive for novel coronavirus.

UPDATE 2:20 P.M.: Columbia Mayor Brian Treece and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The state health department said 3,328 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon. Nearly 300 more people have tested positive for coronavirus since Tuesday.

Health department officials said at least 58 people have died related to coronavirus. At least five more people have died from COVID-19 since Tuesday.

Treece said during a coronavirus news conference that there are 72 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The mayor included there are eight active cases of COVID-19, which is down from 20 active cases reported on Tuesday.

UPDATE 1:57 P.M.: The Cole County Health Department said Wednesday at least 35 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Since Tuesday, health officials confirmed one new case of novel coronavirus.

The county website said there are 18 active cases of COVID-19 and 16 have recovered.

UPDATE 12:44 P.M.: The Saline County Health Department said Wednesday that 16 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Health officials have confirmed eight more cases of novel coronavirus since Tuesday. The county reported three new cases on Tuesday, which brought the total then to eight.

According to a release from the health department, cases have been reported across the county.

As of Wednesday, no people have died from COVID-19 in the county.

UPDATE 11:10 A.M.: The Cooper County Health Department reported a third COVID-19 case Wednesday morning.

The department did not release information about the patient other than to say the patient is in isolation. Authorities are investigating who that person has been in contact with, the health department said in a news release.

No one in Cooper County has died from COVID-19.

State authorities on Monday afternoon reported 3,037 cases of COVID-19 with 53 deaths. Those numbers are typically updated on the state's website at about 2 p.m. each day. One of those deaths is in Boone County and another in Cole County.

Missouri remains under a statewide stay-at-home order until April 24.

UPDATE 9:29 A.M.: Columbia Public Schools returned to its alternative learning plan after it was put on pause last week.

The district website said new work packets will be sent out to elementary school students' households. School officials said students should focus on one subject each day.

Teachers will hold office hours throughout the week, according to the alternative learning plan. The website said teachers will provide feedback on classwork, but grades will not be assigned.

Learning opportunities will be available for middle school and high school students through the end of the school year. The school district said Monday that no letter grades will be given out for the spring semester.

According to a letter sent out to parents, students will receive a "P" for pass, or an "IC" for incomplete. School officials said students who had over a 60% average in their classes as of March 10 will receive a P if their average was lower they will receive an IC. The district said neither mark will have an effect on a student's GPA.

The school district said students enrolled in college classes will be allowed to complete the courses for college credit. According to the district website, students will receive a P or an "NC" for no credit.

A letter grade will be sent to colleges and universities, according to the alternative learning plan.

ORIGINAL: The Fulton School Board is scheduled to hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The agenda for the meeting said board members are expected to vote on whether to open a daycare for children of first responders and possibly extending the district's COVID-19 closure.

About two dozen families could utilize the daycare. The meeting agenda said 16 district families and six others from outside of Fulton requested assistance. According to the agenda, potentially eight children could be enrolled in the daycare.

School officials said a faculty and staff survey highlighted 14 district employees that would help out. According to the agenda, the daycare would require at least four staff members.

The meeting agenda said the YMCA of Callaway County could be used to hold the daycare.

School officials said the daycare would run from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the district's COVID-19 shutdown. The agenda said all volunteers, parents and children have to pass a daily health check before entering the daycare.

According to the school board documents, the daycare could be shut down immediately if any volunteers become sick.

If approved, the district would make hazard pay available for volunteers working at the daycare. If board members vote it down, Superintendent Jacque Cowherd will contact the state education department letting them know the program will not be going on.

The school board is also expected to vote on extending their school closure until May 1. Meeting documents say Gov. Mike Parson's statewide stay-at-home order is in place until April 24 and the Trump administration social distancing order is in effect through the end of the month.

If approved, the district will remain closed until at least May 1 or when the COVID-19 orders have been lifted.

Columbia Public Schools / Email Alert – Breaking News / Fulton / News / Top Stories

ABC 17 News Team


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