Governor Parson Orders Schools Remain Closed for Remainder of Academic Year, Emphasizes State’s Aggressive Actions to Combat COVID-19 Are Working

 — In today’s COVID-19 briefing, Governor Mike Parson announced that all Missouri public and charter school buildings will remain closed through the remainder of the academic year. 

This recommendation was made to Governor Parson today by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and several school superintendents from rural and urban areas across the state.

“Continuing our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, I am ordering all public and charter schools to remain closed through the remainder of this academic year, with the exception of nutrition and child care outlined in our Stay Home Missouri Order,” Governor Parson said. 

School services are expected to continue through the last day of school in each school district as pre-established by the academic calendar approved by their local board of education. These continued services include alternative educational opportunities as well as providing much-needed meals to students who count on them.

DESE will issue additional guidance to Missouri school leaders in the near future. In conjunction with the Governor’s Office, DESE is continuing efforts to help local school leaders by removing barriers and waiving the necessary state statutes and regulations. 

Additional K-12 information and guidance can be found at dese.mo.gov/COVID19.

In addition to this announcement, Governor Parson emphasized the state’s “Stay Home Missouri” Order and social distancing measures are working to help combat COVID-19. 

According to data from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), traffic volumes across the state are down approximately 40 percent, showing that more Missourians are staying home. 

“I want Missourians to know that our aggressive efforts to combat COVID-19 are working. Based on traffic data across the state, we know people are following the Stay Home Missouri Order, and we are very appreciative of that,” Governor Parson said. “Missouri is in a good place right now, but we must keep up these efforts.” 

Although statewide traffic has decreased significantly as a result of COVID-19, Governor Parson reminded Missourians to practice safe driving and obey the rules of the road. MoDOT officials and their law enforcement partners, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are seeing an increase in speeding due to the lower traffic volumes. 

In a recent test of a section of rural I-70, there were more than twice as many incidences of speeds over 80 mph this year as compared to last year. Last week alone, MODOT vehicles were struck three times by distracted drivers. 

“Reckless driving leads to accidents and adds to the current stress of our first responders and health care professionals. That’s why now more than ever, it is critical to drive safely and obey the rules of the road,” Governor Parson said. 

While less Missourians are traveling the roadways, trucks continue to carry much needed supplies, and MoDOT is keeping vital transportation projects and essential state highway maintenance operations moving.

Governor Parson also highlighted the efforts of businesses across the state to abide by the guidelines of his ‘Stay Home Missouri’ Order, including grocery stores. Schnuck Markets, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Peacock joined today’s briefing to give an update on actions taken in Schnucks stores across Missouri. 

Schnucks has taken several measures to meet this crisis head on in its stores to keep both customers and employees safe:

  • Mandating that employees wear masks and providing FDA-approved, sterile masks to any employee who needs one
  • Counting each customer who enters and exits Schnucks stores and implementing capacity limitations in each location to maintain as much social distancing as possible
  • Reminding customers through signage, floor decals, and PA announcements every 15 minutes to maintain social distance as well as dedicated personnel to remind customers to maintain 6 feet of distance throughout the store
  • Strongly encouraging customers to assign one shopper per household and for that shopper to wear a mask - reserving masks like N95s and surgical masks for frontline personnel 
  • Collaborating with local media to spread this message beyond Schnucks stores through PSAs and live mentions get the word out beyond Schnucks stores

Additionally, Schnucks has also announced donations totaling over $600,000 to organizations seeking to provide humanitarian efforts in this time of crisis and is currently offering customers the opportunity to round up at the register in support of the United Way's COVID-19 needs. This is on top of Schucks’ regular food donations totaling over $13 million per year to area food banks and other charitable efforts within our communities.

Governor Parson’s “Stay Home Missouri” Order will remain in effect through Friday, April 24. For clarification on the guidelines set forth in the Order, click here.

To view Governor Parson’s remarks from today’s briefing, please click here. Pictures from the briefing are available on Governor Parson’s Flickr page.