Ritenour Schools Close Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
All schools and buildings in the Ritenour School District closed at the end of the school day on March 17, 2020 out of growing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The closure is effective through at least June 2, the last day of the school year.
Although buildings are closed, distance instruction and learning continues for all students in their homes online for middle and high school students, and with paper learning packets and online opportunities for elementary students. Teachers at the School for Early Childhood Education also have created remote learning plans for preschoolers.
In addition to distance learning, Ritenour’s child nutrition and transportation staff have teamed up to prepare and deliver Grab & Go meals to all Ritenour children PreK-12. Meals are prepared in the kitchen at RItenour High School, and Ritenour bus drivers are delivering meals to students at more than 130 bus stops two days per week. The Grab & Go meal distribution began the week of March 30 and delivers more than 8,000 meals per week to students.
On April 9, Ritenour announced to families that it would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. The difficult decision was the result of conversations with the St. Louis County Health Department and County Executive Dr. Sam Page regarding the unprecedented effects of the historic pandemic.
“It was clear during our discussions that we all have a responsibility to do what is needed to “flatten the curve” and keep the health and safety of our staff and families a priority,” said Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride.
Shortly after the county’s announcement on April 9, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced that all schools statewide will be closed for the remainder of the school year. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will be providing school districts additional guidance to help navigate the uncharted times with the pandemic.
The effects of the global pandemic began initially impacting Ritenour operations in mid-March when social distancing recommendations went in place in the St. Louis region.
- On March 15, Ritenour families were notified that the district was canceling all after school activities, events and parent-teacher conferences effective immediately and would close all buildings March 18-April 3.
- Teachers prepared lessons for Google Classroom and other online student learning platforms that were ready to go beginning March 18.
- On March 23, during Spring Break, Ritenour and other St. Louis County schools announced that the closure would continue through April 22.
Dr. Kilbride said that amidst the pandemic crisis, he witnessed Herculean efforts by staff members to serve their students and families.
“My pride in Ritenour has reached new heights in recent weeks as I have witnessed our district leaders, teachers, support staff and families step up to meet the challenge of reaching Every Student, Every Day,” Kilbride said. “We will face the continued monumental challenges of educating, feeding and meeting the social-emotional needs stemming from the obstacles of this historic pandemic together.”