COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES: AP Testing Shortened and Moved Online, FHSD Announces School Closures


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St. Charles County has been taking steps to minimize at COVID-19 outbreak such as closing all dine-in services for bars and restaurants and working to close many school districts in its borders. St. Charles County currently has one case of COVID-19.

By Emily Hood, Francis Howell North High School

March 20, 2020 – 1:41 p.m.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development has reduced or suspended certain requirements for A+ Scholarship eligibility requirements. This scholarship gives students two free years of community college and scholarships at certain Missouri universities.

The number of service hours required has been reduced from 50 hours to 25 hours. High school seniors are no longer required to maintain a 2.5 GPA, but meet their school’s satisfactory academic progress requirements. These changes only apply to 2020 high school seniors and current college students.

March 20, 2020 – 11:31 a.m.

The College Board has announced changes to the AP Exam system due to school closures because of COVID-19. In-person exams will not take place this year as the College Board develops a system for an online exam. Students will take an online exam for 45 minutes that will only cover materials reviewed in classes through early March. Students can take these exams on any device that has internet access, and two testing dates will be available for students who want to take the exam early and students who want more time for review. Students who do not have internet access at home should contact the College Board.

On Wednesday, March 25, students can attend live AP review courses online for free before exams. These review sessions will focus on the first 75% of material covered in each course.

March 20, 2020 – 10:32 a.m.

The FHSD Candidate Forum, scheduled for April 1, has been cancelled. The 4.0 Luncheon has also been cancelled until further notice.

Missouri currently has 47 cases of COVID-19, up from 24 cases on March 19. This jump is due to an increase in testing from private labs in the state. St. Louis County currently has the most cases at 10. St. Louis City has five cases and St. Charles County has one case.

March 18, 2020 – 10:21 p.m.

The Francis Howell School District will be creating meal packages containing five days worth of food for students and families in need during their emergency school closure.

FHSD is asking for donations that can be dropped off on Friday, March 20 at the FHSD Administration Building at 4545 Central School Road between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The district is looking for items such as instant oatmeal, cereal, pop tarts, cereal bars, granola bars and more. Monetary donations can also be made at this link.

Find out more about what resources are needed here.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson has announced Missouri’s first death due to COVID-19. The patient, in their 60s, tested positive for the virus in Boone County, which contains Columbia, MO and had recently traveled outside the U.S.

March 18, 2020 – 7:04 p.m.

St. Charles County has received its first case of COVID-19. The woman is in her 20s and the case was travel-related. She has been under quarantine. 191 people are currently being monitored for symptoms in the county for travel-related cases and 17 people are being monitored as contacts to known cases.

County officials stress that if you suspect you have COVID-19, you should call the county’s hotline number or your health care provider instead of rushing to an emergency room.

Follow COVID-19 updates in St. Charles County here.

March 18, 2020 – 10:31 a.m.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order moving all elections held on April 7 to June 2 to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Missouri. FHSD was due to hold School Board elections and vote on Proposition S, a no-tax increase bond issue to provide funding to help maintain the district’s facilities.

“Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri’s municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters,” Parson said in his statement.

St. Louis Mayor Lynda Krewson confirmed a second case of COVID-19 in St. Louis City. There are currently 16 cases in Missouri as of Wednesday morning.

March 17, 2020 – 6:23 p.m.

Missouri now has 15 positive cases of COVID-19. St. Louis County has four cases and St. Louis City has one case. There are still no positive cases of COVID-19 in St. Charles County. Here’s the breakdown of cases by county.

Greene County – 4

St. Louis County – 4

Cass County – 2

St. Louis City – 1

Henry County – 1

Boone County – 1

Cole County – 1

Jackson County – 1

Watch FHN Head Principal Nathan Hostetler’s update to students and parents.

March 17, 2020 – 4:36 p.m.

On Tuesday, March 24, students will be allowed to enter FHSD buildings from 8-4:30 to gather any belongings left before break. Three administrators will be present to open the building and allow students to grab items from classrooms and lockers. Students should only come if there is something they absolutely need at the school. Teachers will be able to get into the building on Monday, March 23.

FHSD is currently working on a system to provide online instruction to students. This website will be released to students and teachers in the coming week.

The College Board has released resources for AP teachers and has suggested they will extend testing dates if schools remain close and instructional time is lost.

March 17, 2020 – 3:22 p.m.

St. Charles County has announced that all restaurants and bars will not be allowed to offer dine-in services. Delivery and carry-out services are still available. These restrictions will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, March 20.

March 17, 2020 – 9:48 a.m.

St. Louis City received its first case of COVID-19 on Monday after a St. Louis University student who recently traveled abroad tested positive for the virus. The person flew into the U.S. from another state and drove to St. Louis. They followed public guidelines for isolating themselves.

On Monday, a third case of COVID-19 was discovered in St. Louis County. The person is 50-60 years old and recently traveled abroad. Missouri currently has nine cases of COVID-19, four of which are in the St. Louis area.

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in St. Charles County. At the recommendation of the CDC, St. Charles County has banned gatherings of more than 50 people or more to help stop the spread of the virus. This order did not apply to grocery stores, retail stores or public transit.

March 15, 2020 – 7:10 p.m.

A call was sent to parents at 7:05 p.m notifying them that school will be closed until April 3, 2020. All after school activities will also be canceled during this time. FHSD will be working with students, teachers and community members throughout this week to develop a plan for the coming weeks regarding possible e-learning and meal needs for families. Updates will be given throughout the week.

See more info about the announcement here.

March 13, 2020 – 5:14 p.m.

Two more individuals have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 in Missouri today, bringing the total number of cases in Missouri to four. 94 individuals have tested so far, 90 of which have come back negative.

Governor Mike Parson has announced that Missouri will be placed under a state of emergency during his press conference at 5 pm on Friday, March 13. Parson says this declaration is not intended to close schools, but schools should seek the advice of local health agencies and make the decisions on a case-by-case basis. This announcement will help free up money and resources to help deal with COVID-19 cases in Missouri. Washington University and the University of Missouri-Columbia will be conducting tests with positive COVID-19 cases received from the state. Parson emphasized the need of individuals to follow self-quarantine orders if they are given.

“The primary purpose of this emergency declaration is to provide greater flexibility in providing resources,” Parson said in his press conference.

Mercy’s Virtual Care Center in Chesterfield has created a drive-thru testing site for COVID-19. The site is designed for those who have a fever of 100.4 or more and symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. Before visiting the site for a test, individuals should call Mercy’s COVID-19 Clinical Support Line before arriving at

March 13, 2020 – 4:25 p.m.

St. Charles County has announced they have sent 2 new COVID-19 tests to the state lab for testing. One was a 34 year-old man who had recently traveled to France and the other was a 41 year-old woman who was in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus in another state. Both are currently in self-quarantine.

FHSD told students to bring home devices and any textbooks needed in case of a school closure. At this time, there are no plans to close school after spring break.

FHN Choir will no longer be participating in their competition in Orlando, FL due to Disneyworld closures. They will still be spending time at Disney and Universal Studios through Sunday. Plans after Sunday are to be determined.

March 12, 2020 – 7:51 a.m.

The 2020 Eastern Missouri NSDA Speech and Debate tournament, scheduled for March 12-14, has been cancelled. The tournament was not cancelled due to any specific COVID-19 case in Missouri. This tournament would have allowed competitors to advance to the National Speech and Debate Tournament. NSDA is examining options to reschedule the tournament to a later date.

President Donald Trump announced in an address to the nation that he is restricting travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days. The restrictions do not apply to the United Kingdom and does not apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S.

The NBA has cancelled their season after Rudy Golbert of the Utah Jazz has tested positive for COVID-19. This announcement came after a Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game was abruptly cancelled before tip-off last night.

Tom Hanks has announced that him and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive for the virus on Wednesday night. They are currently in Australia producing an Elvis Presley biopic. Hanks’s announcement makes him the first American celebrity to announce a COVID-19 diagnosis. They are currently in isolation and are in communication with healthcare officials.

March 11, 2020 – 5:15 p.m.

The Francis Howell School District is in active communication with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health and the CDC to determine the best course of action to keep students and community safe.

Parent Teacher Conferences are still being held on Thursday, March 12. Parents are encouraged to wash their hands as they come into the building and use hand sanitizer that will be available.

On Feb. 17, all hard and soft surfaces at FHN were sprayed with an anti-microbial film to reduce the ability of microbes to live on surfaces. This cleaning was not directly related to a potential COVID-19 outbreak. FHSD has also been covering bus seats with this same film.

Letters were sent home to parents of students at FHN who do not have internet access notifying them that if they do not want a device sent home with their student, they will need to opt-out by tomorrow.

At this time, no field trips have been cancelled due to COVID-19. The FHN Choir program has been cleared to travel to Festival Disney in Orlando, FL for a competition. Decisions to attend field trips are made based on the location of the field trip and the recommendations of the SCC Department of Public Health and the CDC.

4 people in St. Charles County have tested negative for COVID-19. Currently, no one in St. Charles County has tested positive for the disease. St. Charles County has created a website to track cases of COVID-19 in the county, including the number of people being monitored, the number of negative tests and the number of positive tests.

Many colleges and universities in Missouri and St. Louis have cancelled classes or decided to hold classes remotely through online platforms. St. Louis University will suspend classes next week due to COVID-19 while developing a plan to finish the semester remotely. University of Missouri-Columbia will hold classes remotely until March 20. Maryville University will be holding classes online beginning next week. Webster University will hold classes online until March 26. Washington University-St. Louis will extend their spring break by one week to prepare for online instruction, beginning on March 23.

FHN Head Principal Nathan Hostetler released a video to FHN community members yesterday addressing preparations being made at FHN. Watch the video below.

March 10, 2020

Francis Howell School District is beginning preparations in case of a COVID-19 (popularly referred to as the coronavirus) outbreak in the district. At this time, it is the understanding of FHN administration that no one in FHSD is suspected of having COVID-19. An email was sent to teachers today asking them to check with students if they had internet access and/or a device with internet access in case of a potential school closure.

St. Louis County diagnosed its first case of COVID-19 on Friday. The woman had been studying abroad in Italy and returned to St. Louis from Chicago via Amtrak. The woman and her family are currently self-quarantined in their home.

FHSD Superintendent Dr. Hendricks-Harris sent out an email to students and parents on March 9 addressing community concerns. Read the email below.

Francis Howell Community,

As you likely already know, St. Louis County has confirmed the first case of COVID-19. Francis Howell has been preparing for the possible scenarios if the virus were to spread to our community; last week we met with our safety team, other districts, and experts in the region. We are not aware of any confirmed cases in St. Charles County, our community, or our schools. We would like to emphasize the following precautions:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
• Stay at home away from others if you are sick.
• Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
• Do not bring your student to school, or come to work at school, if you have cold or flu-like symptoms (elevated temperature, fever, cough, shortness of breath).

School Closings

I have received several questions regarding school closings. If it becomes necessary to close school, the length of the closure will impact our next steps. We will collaborate with the local health department before we would close any schools. It is likely, if our District closes for several days, there will be an attempt to make-up the time using our current snow day schedule. Should we need to close schools for an extended period of time, we will work with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to determine if some instructional time can be waived. DESE has always worked with schools in extreme situations, and I would expect this to be the same. We are not prepared to provide online learning for our students on this short notice, but are accelerating our efforts to provide learning resources for students. The FHSD community will be notified of any closures through the same channels we communicate snow closures. Please be sure your information is up-to-date in order to receive email, texts, and/or calls.


During this time, if it is necessary for your child to be home, it will be an excused absence. It is essential for student safety that if a student isn’t feeling well, they remain at home.

We have been in meetings with health experts and other school districts as we prepare for the potential of COVID-19 cases in our county. We are updated daily on any new information from the St. Charles County Department of Public Health and the CDC. This week your students will receive a lesson on precautionary measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The latest FHSD update on COVID-19, along with other links to resources, can be found on the District website. In addition, this resource link will provide parents with some information to share with their children. It is my hope this will support some of our students who may be feeling anxious.

Student and staff safety is a priority in Francis Howell. This is a dynamic situation, and I will continue to keep you updated.


Dr. Mary Hendricks-Harris

This story was originally published on on March 10, 2020.