ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — Hundreds of students within St. Charles County schools have transmitted COVID-19 to each other, according to data provided by the health department.
St. Charles County Department of Health started posting data Tuesday on its website that identifies the number of COVID-19 cases and contacts linked to school attendance and school facilities.
The data includes St. Charles County residents who attend or work at schools within the county or outside of the county, according to a press release from the county. The numbers also include students and staff in private and public schools -- from elementary school through colleges and universities.
The county provided the following data as of Nov. 16:
- Student-to-student transmission: 612
- Staff-to-student transmission: 89
- Student-to-staff transmission: 58
- Staff-to-staff transmission: 39
The health department also included data that broke down cases within the public school districts, private schools and colleges and universities in the county.
For example, in the Fort Zumwalt School District, there have been 2,666 "close contacts" linked to a school case, and 179 "school cases linked to another school case."
And in the Francis Howell School District, there have been 2,162 "close contacts" linked to another school case and 152 "school cases linked to another school case."
While there are thousands of contacts within educational settings, the contacts are not always leading to transmission. However, the number of close contacts and subsequent quarantining is leading to staff shortages in the county, across the region and the state.
That prompted Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and state education leaders to loosen the guidelines within K-12 schools. The state advised that school-aged children do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to another person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis -- even if they are within 6 feet of each other -- if they were wearing masks properly.
This month, the Wentzville School District decided to transition middle and high school students to all-virtual learning due to staff shortages.