Excelsior Springs School District closes all schools due to coronavirus

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Excelsior Springs School District closes all schools due to coronavirus

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 17:13
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JACK ‘MILES’ VENTIMIGLIA Editor-in-chief

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS – The school district this week is on spring break, but Superintendent Dan Hoehn said the break has been extended due to the coronavirus, COVID-19.

Excelsior Springs will be closed through April 3, and possibly longer.

Nearby Lathrop School District stated schools would be closed “indefinitely.”

“During this time, all campus facilities will be closed and there will be no student activities,” Hoehn stated in a notice to district patrons Monday. “This will allow us time to gain more understanding of this unprecedented situation, while doing everything we can to ensure that all our students, staff and community are as safe as possible. Details about alternative learning methods, food service, counseling services and childcare will be forthcoming under a separate communication.”

Hoehn told The Standard the district is aware that closing schools affects students and families, and contingency plans are being considered.

“If we, in collaboration with Northland schools, decided to close to protect our kids, we will have alternative learning methods, opportunities for food service, counseling service and child care in place,” he said.

Being on spring break allows the district time to do more cleaning, he said.

“Custodial maintenance staff is putting a very detailed cleaning on our buildings in addition to the norm,” Hoehn said.

To start the week, governors in 33 states had closed their K-12 schools. Among those states are neighboring Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois and Kentucky. State Auditor Nicole Galloway called on Gov. Mike Parson to close Missouri’s public schools, too. So far, he has not, leaving the decision to individual districts.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, stated 44 states are dealing more aggressively with the coronavirus than Missouri, with this state ranking 45th among those spending the least per person on health care.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association suspended the remainder of the basketball championship games, but left the decision about whether to continue spring sports up to individual schools.

Hoehn stated the district will keep the public informed about what comes next.

“We will continue to communicate with everyone as we progress through this challenging time,” he stated.

NBA officials suspended the season in the course of a single day, which may cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars in terms of lost jobs, advertising revenue and ticket sales. Similarly, if schools close before the end of the year, then attendance-dependant revenue from the state could be affected, Richmond School District acting Superintendent Jim Finley said.

“That’s a bridge that the state is going to have to cross, if it gets to that,” he said.

What the next few weeks may hold for schools is unclear, Finley said.

“These are very uncertain times and we’re in new territory,” he said.

‘ These are very uncertain times and we’re in new territory.

JIM FINLEY

INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT, RICHMOND