MOKANE — In a letter to parents, South Callaway R-2 School District reported an individual who recently tested positive for COVID-19 visited the South Callaway Early Childhood Learning Center before it closed last week.
The individual, a William Woods University student, completed an observation assignment in Kendra Slagle's kindergarten classroom March 17, which was the last day South Callaway students came to school. Students are scheduled to return to classes April 6.
In a subsequent update, the district said the Callaway County Health Department has reported the risk of exposure as low.
The William Woods student tested positive Monday — it is unclear when the student was originally exposed or whether they were contagious at the time of the visit.
According to the letter, no South Callaway students or staff members are known to have any symptoms at this time. None in the district have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.
The closure already in place follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine after 14 days is not considered at risk for spreading the virus if they have not developed illness during the incubation period.
All of Callaway County's confirmed cases have been related to William Woods University — nine students have tested positive for the virus as of Monday. Health officials are working to identify anyone they might have come in contact with while the individuals stay in isolation.
William Woods began transitioning to online classes March 16, before the student visited South Callaway and before any William Woods students had tested positive. University spokesman John Fougere said in an email the university was following CDC guidelines at the time.
Many college students regularly spend time in K-12 school districts as observers, student teachers and volunteers — Fulton Public Schools asked all college students to leave the district March 12, days before the district's final day of school. In a recent update, FPS Superintendent Jacque Cowherd said the district has not been notified of any potential exposures since school was shut down.
Anyone who believes they have COVID-19 symptoms is directed to call the Missouri COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-435-8411. Hundreds of Missourians have tested positive for the illness.
Guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:
Practice good hygiene — wash hands, avoid touching your face, disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible, and cough or sneeze into a tissue or inside of your elbow.
Stay home if you are sick.
Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants and food courts — use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options instead.
Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.
Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.