Mehlville School District employee who handed out meals tested for COVID-19


Mehlville School District employees, including Superintendent Chris Gaines, seen above March 23, are handing out grab-and-go meals of breakfast and lunch to all children living in the Mehlville School District during the extended closure.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

A Mehlville School District employee who handed out grab-and-go meals for the district this week is being tested for the coronavirus.

The district sent an email to all parents Thursday morning saying that a staff member notified a supervisor last night that the staff member is being tested for COVID-19 “following a known exposure to the virus.”

The staff member currently has symptoms of COVID-19, and those test results are pending.

The staff member — who the district intentionally did not identify by gender — helped hand out grab-and-go meals Monday at Mehlville High School, when the person was not yet having symptoms.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” the district said, a new team of employees will distribute meals at Mehlville High School starting today, April 23.

The district had already been holding the grab-and-go handouts only twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, to minimize contact between the public and staff members.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s unknown whether someone can be contagious prior to showing symptoms. The World Health Organization says the risk of asymptomatic transmission is “very low.”

The coronavirus is thought to be spread via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person.

There are several precautions in place during grab-and-go meal distribution to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, the district said.

Currently, all staff wear masks and gloves and maintain social distancing with those picking up meals.

Additionally, all facilities, including buses, used for grab-and-go are cleaned after each grab-and-go service.

“I am grateful for the dedication that has been shown by our employees during these challenging times,” Superintendent Chris Gaines said in the email. “We will continue to take every precaution to ensure their safety and the safety of those we are serving.”

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or cold and include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Symptoms can be mild to severe. If you are exhibiting these symptoms, call your medical provider, the St. Louis County COVID-19 hotline, 314-615-2660, or fill out a form at the Mehlville Fire Protection District’s website to have a critical-care paramedic come to you and perform an assessment.

You can learn more about COVID-19 from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. Gaines said everyone should follow the CDC’s guidance for protecting themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.