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Dozens of students and staff quarantined in Southern Boone, Hallsville schools

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KMIZ
Southern Boone Middle School 2019.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Dozens of students and staff have been told to quarantine at schools in Ashland and Hallsville because of exposure to COVID-19.

In the Southern Boone School District, exposure to the novel coronavirus has sent more than 70 students into quarantine, while about 70 students will have to be in quarantine in the Hallsville School District.

Southern Boone Superintendent Chris Felmlee said in letters to parents last week and this week that 30 high school students, 15 students and staff in early childhood special education, 34 middle school students and one elementary student have been exposed and have to quarantine for 14 days.

The district sent a letter home to parents Thursday about a positive case and exposures in the early childhood special education program.

According to Southern Boone’s COVID-19 Information page, if a student tests positive for COVID-19 they are not allowed to return to school for 10 calendar days from the test date or the start of symptoms. 

If a student has had a high-risk exposure, which means being within 6 feet of an infected person for longer than 15 minutes, the student would not be allowed to return to school for 14 calendar days. 

In the letter, Felmlee said the district will continue to provide in-seat instruction for preschool through 12th grade.

Southern Boone parent Calvin Crandall said he is frustrated that the school district does not have a concrete plan for switching to hybrid learning, which would have students in class some days and out of class other days.

"As a parent it was very frustrating," Crandall said. "What are we going to do?"

He said he wants the school district to have a more concise plan with clear levels set at which teaching would be altered.

"What would trigger the school district into going into Plan B and what would trigger the district into going into Plan C," Crandall said.

Crandall said he wants the district to be more transparent with COVID-19 information.

Southern Boone superintendent, Chris Felmlee, said he does not have a threshold developed yet that could determine what could cause the district to move to hybrid learning. 

He said he has been talking with other Boone County superintendents about the decision for the district to go to a hybrid model.

"In the meantime the biggest threshold we’ve used and the most practical threshold that we’ve used is how COVID is affecting our staff," Felmlee said.

He said right now they make determinations on the method of instruction based on whether or not he has enough teachers.

Felmlee said the rising number of students having to quarantine hasn't affected the district but he is concerned about it.

"It’s concerning because these are our kids and we want whats best for the kids," Felmlee said. "It’s not like were just brushing this off."

The Hallsville School District reported Thursday in a news release that about 70 students could be in quarantine once contact tracing is finished. This week the district has learned of two positive tests in the high school and another in the middle school, according to the release.

Boonville School District

Since reopening, the Boonville School District has had two students and one teacher test positive for COVID-19, the head of the Cooper County district told ABC 17 News in an on-air interview Thursday. 

Boonville Superintendent Sarah Marriott said close contacts have been identified. 

“We have staff members who have been trained in contact tracing methods,” Marriott said. “So they instituted the protocols for those and identified those persons who were deemed close contacts.”

Marriott said the district immediately contacted the students' families to have the students quarantine for 14 days and continue their learning online. 

Boonville has four different risk levels that determine the mode of learning in the school district. 

Marriott said they have not had to switch levels during this school year. 

“We’ve been able to continue with our green level which is the in-person learning for persons that choose that,” Marriott said. “And then we also continue with the virtual learning for people that chose that at the beginning of the year.”

Riane Cleveland

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