St. Louis school cancels classes after learning student is sister of coronavirus patient


FRONTENAC, Mo. ( – Classes at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School have been called off for Monday after school officials learned one of their students is the sister of the St. Louis County woman who tested positive for coronavirus.

The school made the announcement on Sunday, one day after Missouri Governor Mike Parson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced the first confirmed COVID-19 case in St. Louis County and the state.

In a letter to parents, Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School officials said the father and sister of the patient were at Saturday night’s father-daughter dinner dance held at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton. School officials said the family members didn’t learn of the diagnosis until after they were already at the dance. The dance was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Doctor Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said he received a phone call about the positive diagnosis at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The school said the family members left the dance immediately after they were notified. The school is urging people who attended the dance to seek appropriate medical treatment if they notice any symptoms and to notify the school.

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School released the following statement:

“Head of School Michael F. Baber announced to school families that Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School will close for tomorrow as School officials work with local health officials. The school learned this morning that a St. Louis County woman who has received a positive test for COVID-19 is the older sister of a Villa Duchesne student. School officials immediately began gathering information and planning for the safety of our students and families.

“We are communicating with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and sharing everything that we know with them. We will work with officials to ensure we are doing everything possible to mitigate risk and to maintain our safe environment,” says Alice Dickherber, Director of Communications and Marketing. “We are committed to the health and safety of our community and we will follow the guidance of public health officials as we plan for the coming days.”

A Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School spokesperson later added:

“We are always focused on prevention of the spread of germs on campus and will be cleaning tomorrow. Our full-time cleaning and maintenance staff are on campus each day, cleaning and sanitizing throughout the school day. We are cleaning continuously to prevent the spread of germs and we will make sure we are taking direction from public health officials as to any additional measures we should take. Our Spring break begins on Monday, March 16.”

For more information on the virus and safety guidelines, visit the CDC’s website at The St. Louis County Health hotline is 314-615-2660 or visit the county’s website at to learn more.

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