March 13, 2020

SPS parents and community members:

As our local, national and international communities continue to assess the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), SPS receives ongoing guidance from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

“We continue to work closely with Springfield Public Schools to monitor the situation and will provide additional guidance, as needed,” said Clay Goddard , director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. “We do not advise K-12 institutions to close at this time. By remaining open, SPS continues to meet the academic and wellness needs of its 25,000 students.”

As part of this guidance, SPS is providing the following update for students, staff and parents. 

No Current Plans for Closure
  • In collaboration with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, there are no current plans to close Springfield Public Schools.
  • Any future direction regarding school closure would come from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That assessment would be made on a site-by-site, case-by-case basis in the event of increased illness among the students and staff in that individual building.
  • Many factors guide the direction to avoid districtwide closure, including the following:
  • Districtwide closure would have a negative impact on the ability of our healthcare system to care for those who may become sick. A rapid, widespread need for childcare would have immediate implications for our region.
  • Many of our students depend on SPS to provide quality meals that are essential for their daily nutrition, as well as a safe and secure learning environment.
  • Districtwide closure would have a detrimental impact on many students.

Lower Risk Factor for Children
  • COVID-19 poses the most significant risk to those who are over the age of 60 years and those who have chronic medical conditions and weaker immune systems. 
  • Significant risk factors remain lower for children.

Prevention Measures
  • As we do every flu season, SPS is vigilant in our efforts to reduce the spread of infectious diseases by educating students and staff about practicing healthy habits and ways they can help prevent the spread of flu and the common cold. 
  • SPS custodial staff have an increased focus during flu season on disinfecting desks, door handles, tables, drinking fountains and other surfaces to help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Deep cleanings are also performed in the evenings at schools that are experiencing high absence rates due to flu-like symptoms.
  • Parents are encouraged to help students stay healthy in the following ways:
  • Keep children home if they are showing signs of flu, which include: fever (usually high), muscle aches and chills, headache, sore throat, extreme tiredness, sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Also keep your child home when he/she has diarrhea, vomiting, low-grade fever.
  • Children should be kept home until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Minimize contact with others who are ill.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is ill.

Travel Guidance
  • As Spring Break begins on Friday, March 13, the health department advises staff, students and parents to be especially cautious in making travel decisions and to follow the latest guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • For those who choose to travel, it is advised that prevention tips are followed. Upon return, it is important for individuals to monitor any change in their health and to notify the health department with questions or concerns.

Communication Updates
  • Moving forward, should there be an impact on individual school events, activities or other schedules, that information will be communicated by the district.
  • Other guidance from county, state or federal health professionals will also be shared.
  • Updated information regarding prevention and response efforts by SPS is provided at www.sps.org/healthupdate, including health tips and links to the health department, CDC and other resources.

Health Department Contact Information
  • Health concerns regarding COVID-19 may be directed to the health department at 417-874-1211.

Springfield Public Schools| SPS.org