November 30, 2021
The Northwest R-I School District recently received notification from the Jefferson County Health Department (JCHD) that the JCHD will no longer mandate that school districts contact trace and issue quarantines, and that the district should no longer issue the “notice of quarantine” letter from the JCHD. Therefore, the Northwest R-I School District will follow our district Communicable Disease Policy 2860, as we have done in the past for communicable diseases. This means the district will no longer be contact tracing or issuing JCHD quarantines for exposures that occur at school. Our in-school data has shown that when students are exposed to COVID-19 at school, it typically does not lead to widespread transmission.
Our communicable disease policy still requires us to exclude students who are “liable to transmit the contagious or infectious disease,” therefore, we will continue to exclude students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Our data has shown that out-of-school exposures typically lead to transmission; therefore, out-of-school, household exposures will likely still be excluded from school. Exclusion from other out-of-school exposures will be based on the communicable disease policy.
Since we are all aware that at any time, when outside in the public, anyone could be exposed to someone who has COVID-19, we encourage you to closely monitor your child for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 daily and keep your child home from school if he or she develops any symptoms. If your child will be absent due to the development of symptoms, please call your child’s school to report the absence and then ask to speak to the nurse’s office staff in order to determine a return-to-school date.
The COVID-19 signs and symptoms that you should monitor for are:
- shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- loss of taste or smell
- congestion/runny nose
- sore throat
- fatigue or muscle/body aches
If you would like to be informed of the COVID-19 numbers in your child’s school, please visit our district dashboard at Northwest R-1 COVID-19 Dashboard.
For more information regarding COVID-19 mitigation measures that the district will continue to use, please see the Northwest R-1 District website for the Return to School 2021 - 22 document.
If you would like further COVID-19 guidance, please contact the Jefferson County Health Department at 636-797-3737 or visit their website at Jefferson County Health Department.
May 21, 2021
Families of Lion Nation,
At last night’s Northwest R-I School District Board of Education meeting, the Board of Education made the decision to make masks optional for students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, for May 24-25, the final two days of the 2020-21 school year. The decision will carry over for the 2021 Summer School session. Summer school is scheduled for June 1-30.
Although masks are optional, the continued use of masks is recommended. The Northwest School District will continue to follow previous mitigation strategies, including social distancing when possible and sanitization of classrooms and heavily used spaces.
Quarantine guidelines will remain in place; if a student is exposed to a positive case, we will follow regulations set forth by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Jefferson County Health Department.
With this decision, you may decide what is best for your family. We will continue to monitor cases of COVID-19 within the district and re-evaluate our health and safety plans if necessary.
Thank you Lion Nation,
Desi Kirchhofer, Ed. D
Superintendent, Northwest School District
April 9, 2021
They say that good things come to those who wait. Well, we must be in store for some great things because we have been waiting patiently for normalcy for over a year now. I was reminded of this yesterday during the morning newscast when the announcer stated that there had not been fans inside Busch Stadium for 550 days and that they won’t be at full capacity for some time. At Northwest, we have waited an entire year for our middle school and high school students to return to the classrooms at “full capacity”. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re a step closer to a near-normal school year. We are also excited about continuing traditional senior events such as prom and graduation. Thank you for your patience as we waited for the right time to safely combine our students once again.
So far, returning to more in-person days and combining the A and B day students is working. A large part of that is due to the mitigation strategies we have in place. The continued wearing of face coverings as a mitigation strategy has not only been important in reducing the transmission of the virus, but is now also a strategy for students to remain in school. Recently, the Jefferson County Health Department revised its guidance for quarantine requirements when students are wearing masks. Therefore, if students are properly wearing a mask, even if they are considered close contacts, they will not have to be quarantined from classes. However, there are conditional restrictions and they will be restricted from sports and extracurricular activities. Given the time out of school this year, we welcome any opportunity to have our students remain in classes.
I want to take a second to say “Thank you!” to our custodial staff. Without them and their diligence in cleaning and preparing our buildings, combining A and B students would not have been possible. Speaking of combining the A and B students, I also want to send a big shout out to our counselors, course schedulers, and data technicians who made the classroom schedules work. Your efforts are behind the scenes, but rest assured, we see you and appreciate you and the work you do. Thank you.
Of course, we want to come back as normal as we can next year. One of the ways we can do this is to get the Covid vaccine. The more of us that get the vaccine, the less the virus will spread. Many of our staff, as well as staff in other Jefferson County school districts like Dunklin, Festus, and Fox, have taken advantage of Covid vaccine clinics offered at the schools. At Northwest, the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to staff tomorrow. By taking advantage of the vaccination opportunity, our staff have expressed their desire to be well and get back to normal. I want to thank each and every one of our staff that have received the vaccine. Your willingness to vaccinate will not only help our students, but our entire community.
With the vaccine becoming readily available to those who want it, what does this mean for us? Will we have to wear masks or social distance? We honestly don’t know yet. Hopefully, we can come back to school like a typical August. It is our hope that we can be as close to pre-Covid routines as possible. It will take all of us to get there.
Before we get to next year, we need to finish this year. You may be wondering about our last day of school. After reviewing our state-required number of attendance hours, barring any unforeseen weather incidents, our last day of school for the 2020-21 year will be Tuesday, May 25, 2021. Again, this is only if there are no more weather incidents.
Last year, we said “We’ve got this.” We never wavered in our belief that Lion Nation would take care of our students, our schools and each other. It has not been easy, and there have been some rough patches, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re almost there, Lion Nation. Until then, be well and stay safe.
Take good care,
Desi Kirchhofer, Ed. D
Superintendent, Northwest School District