The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has released today a list of schools participating in a landmark study about COVID-19 infections within some K-12 schools. Missouri is partnering with the CDC, Washington University and St. Louis University to help schools and public health leaders review current COVID-19 measures. The findings could lead to additional health procedures being taken.
The schools involved include schools in Springfield and the following St. Louis Schools: Pattonville School District, Uthoff Valley Elementary School in the Rockwood School District, Chaminade College Preparatory School, and Nerinx Hall.
The effort will track COVID-19 infections among students and staff based upon whether they were wearing masks in school when they came into close contact with someone infected with the virus. The volunteers will be tested over a 30-day period.
According to DHSS spokeswoman Lisa Cox, an evaluation at each school begins with the schools letting the evaluation teams comprised of individuals from Washington University, St. Louis University, and the CDC know about cases and their contacts. The teams interview any student or staff who voluntarily agree to participate.
Cox says all cases and contacts related to school activities will be included. She says this work will allow Missouri to evaluate cases occurring in other school-based extracurricular activities like sports, band, and choir.
Testing using the Washington University saliva test will be offered to the participants.
During a Missouri Board of Education meeting this week, State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education spokeswoman Mallory McGowin said the project is being piloted for the next couple weeks until schools go on winter break.
“And then the entire data collection and review process is anticipated to be completed within about three months. So likely when schools resume in the new calendar year, there will be more of ability to add participating districts,” she says. “The project will also involve a survey of school-based mitigation strategies. That survey will be sent to schools throughout the state to help the researchers and medical professionals working on this project better understand the measures that are being implemented across the state.”
The results of the study will be published for the nation’s school systems to see.
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