ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Officials from St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County and Franklin County will close all their schools to prevent further spread of coronavirus, a move officials say is meant to keep COVID-19 under control.
Leaders in the bi-state area made the announcement of the extra measure on Sunday. They advised St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, St. Clair County, Ill. and Madison County, Ill. to close all private, public and parochial schools by Wednesday, March 18 until further notice. Officials said they will reevaluate the recommendation by April 3. Spring break for most of these schools falls under this time period.
Furthermore, officials from the counties said all social gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.
"You cannot measure what doesn't happen and what we are trying to do is stop the spread of COVID-19. We have to rely on the CDC and medical professionals who have been through this before, with other viruses," St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson said. "It is a very serious thing and the best thing we can do is stop the spread."
St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County officials announced they will follow the recommendation. The Metro East counties will be closing their schools on Tuesday after Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced on Friday all schools in Illinois will close starting March 17 until March 30.
"Superintendents around the area have been discussing this possibility for several weeks," Dr. Mark Miles with the Rockwood School District said. "We've been planning and making contingency plans for such an event."
"In some respects this will be a new chapter for us to write and give us a reason to think about the future in a different sort of way," Dr. Keith Marty with Parkway School District said. "But I'm optimistic we'll work through it."
Jefferson County, although not included in the recommendation from local leaders, decided to close all of its public schools beginning 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 through April 3.
All St. Charles County school districts will close starting Monday, March 16 until April 3.
Franklin County announced all of its schools will be closed until further notice. The closure will begin Wednesday and run through April 4.
All school activities are canceled during the closure.
"The decision to close our school districts was extremely difficult, made in consultation with all area Superintendents and out of an abundance of caution for our families," the district said in a release.
St. Louis City and County schools will close starting Wednesday, March 18 until April 3.
"This is about science and epidemiology. This is not about politics," Krewson said. "It's one of those things that we believe is a necessary thing to do and that's why we have made a hard decision."
Here's the list of all the schools in St. Louis City and County to close their doors:
- Affton School District
- Archdiocese of St. Louis Schools
- Bayless School District
- Brentwood School District
- School District of Clayton
- Ferguson Florissant School District
- Hancock Place School District
- Hazelwood School District
- Jennings School District
- Kirkwood School District
- Ladue School District
- Lindbergh Schools
- Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District
- Mehlville School District
- Normandy School District
- Parkway School District
- Pattonville School District
- Ritenour School District
- Riverview Gardens School District
- Rockwood School District Special School District (SSD)
- St. Louis Public Schools (including Charters)
- University City School District
- Valley Park School District
- Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation
- Webster Groves School District
Earlier in the day Sunday, Pritzker announced all dine-in will be prohibited at Illinois restaurants and bars starting at the end of business day Monday through the end of March. Curbside pick-up and drive-thru will still be allowed.