FHSD Closes School Through April 3 Due to Coronavirus Precautions

By Emily Hood, Executive Producer of FHNtodayTV

After consulting with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health and the St. Charles County government, FHSD will be closing effective March 16 and classes will resume on April 6. All extracurricular activities will also be canceled until further notice and effective immediately, all gatherings larger than 50 people are prohibited in St. Charles County.

Throughout this week, FHSD will consult with students, teachers and community members to find solutions to many factors in this decision, such as e-learning and meals for families. More details will be released in the coming days throughout Spring Break.

“It will give [FHSD administrators] a chance to sort through work schedules and what’s going to be okay,” FHN Head Principal Nathan Hostetler said.

FHSD is examining options to provide take-home lunches to families in the District who need food during the break and will be deep cleaning their buildings at the advice of the St. Charles Health Department. Chromebooks were sent home with students who did not have devices on Thursday if FHSD decides to implement e-learning throughout the break. 

“I think online classes will be suitable for me because I’ve taken them before,” junior Luke Coffman said. “But for others, it can be a real challenge because people tend to procrastinate.”

This is a developing story and will be updated. To follow updates regarding COVID-19 in FHSD and St. Charles County, check into FHNtoday.com here.

Read the announcement from FHSD Superintendent Dr. Mary Hendricks-Harris below.

Dear Parents, Students, and Staff:

We have been working in collaboration with the St. Charles County Health Department and St. Charles County Government regarding the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19). After a meeting this evening, we have decided to close all FHSD schools, preschool, and Vacation Station through April 3, 2020, with classes set to resume April 6. The closure is effective starting March 16. All extracurricular activities and outside organization events are also canceled until further notice. 

This action is necessary, and we are saddened by the fact we will not be able to provide our students with our typical structure, learning, and community. I know how difficult it is for families when school is not in session. There are many questions about next steps and schedules. This is a continually changing situation, so it is difficult to be definitive in planning. 

We are working on at-home activities if an extension is needed. In addition to the alternative learning support, the District is working on takeout meals that could be provided at several sites across our District. More information will be provided in the next few days. 

Our amazing custodial and maintenance staff will deep clean our buildings. The cleaning will include wiping down the hard surfaces, treating our floors, and disinfecting toys and athletic equipment. The cleaning plan was developed with the assistance of the St. Charles Health Department.  

Throughout our closure, we ask that students and staff follow the CDC guidance – practice social distancing, stay in, wash your hands, and practice good respiratory hygiene. Contact the St. Charles County Health Department or your primary care physician should you have any Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.   

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these uncharted times together and do our part to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. 

Thank you,

Dr. Mary Hendricks-Harris, Superintendent

Francis Howell School District 

Michael Willmann contributed to this report.