Belleville high schools, St. Louis elementary join growing list of schools switching to virtual

ST. LOUIS — Bryan Hill Elementary will start school online Tuesday because of a high number of staff members under COVID-19 quarantine, according to a St. Louis Public Schools spokesman.

Students will spend at least the first week after winter break learning virtually. Families can pick up meal kits for the week on Tuesday.

Sports practices and games in SLPS are temporarily suspended until all student-athletes test negative for the virus.

"It may be necessary at some point (for all of SLPS) to transition to virtual instruction, but that decision will be made on a school-by-school basis with the safety of our staff and students as our top priority," reads a letter sent by the district Monday.

The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 has more than doubled in the St. Louis region from 26 on Thursday to 54 on Monday as students prepare to return from winter break.

Classes at Belleville East and Belleville West high schools will also move online Wednesday through Friday, the Belleville News-Democrat reported Monday.

Three other school districts in the Metro East — Brooklyn, Edwardsville and East St. Louis — will start classes virtually this week.

There are two current COVID-19 outbreaks in the East St. Louis School District, with 47 cases at Wyvetter Younge School of Excellence and 37 cases at Mason Clark Middle School, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

At least three local Catholic schools will also start the new year in virtual learning, including St. Louis University High School and grade schools St. Alban Roe in Wildwood and St. Joseph in Cottleville.

The University of Illinois and Washington University also announced temporary virtual starts to the spring semester.