ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – School just started and a St. Charles County school district already has more than 350 students in quarantine.
The Ft. Zumwalt School District dashboard numbers change by the minute. To give you an example of how fast the numbers change, the dashboard showed 120 students in quarantine on Friday morning. By the end of Friday, that number more than doubled to 251. As of Monday evening, that number has risen by at least another 100.
The four high schools led the way more than 100 of the quarantine cases. As of Monday night, East High registered 44 quarantines and South High showed 37.
Other schools with the most quarantined as of Monday night include South Middle with 30, West Middle with 30, Progress South Elementary showed 28 in quarantine, and West High showed 26.
School parent Tony Robinson said he and his wife chose virtual learning for their two daughters after the school board said masks would be optional.
“We would have loved to send them in person. My daughters wanted to go in person,” he said. “You are penalizing the kids who are going to wear masks and go to school and want to be at school.”
His daughters Carlee and Olivia are in the fifth and third grades, respectively.
“Kids do pretty much what they’re told by adults,” he said. “They listen, they learn, and that’s how they go, but if you have parents saying it’s wrong – and then I hear there’s bullying in schools right now – kids are being told, ‘Why do you have that mask on? Your parents are stupid.’”
Superintendent Dr. Bernard DuBray explained the school board’s position during an interview with FOX 2 News in the Morning on Aug. 18.
“They’re worried about the mental health and the social, emotional issues of kids and so they decided that they will do that for 30 days and we will re-evaluate that at the next school board meeting,” DuBray said.
That interview was before quarantines would reach 351 across the 27 schools in the district.
A district spokesperson added, “Fort Zumwalt continues to closely monitor exposure and quarantine numbers. Currently, the number of students unable to be at school due to COVID exposure is a small percentage of our 17,000 students and is not impacting the continuation of school.“
The number of actual positive COVID cases is about 20% of those quarantined – 65 students and 16 staff were last shown to have tested positive across the district.
The spokesperson also said that not every quarantine means a student was exposed at the school. For example, she said some of the quarantines started from the very first day of school which means their exposure occurred before the school began.