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Ferguson-Florissant school district suspends food service after deaths of two bus drivers

Ferguson-Florissant school district suspends food service after deaths of two bus drivers

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HAZELWOOD — Two Ferguson-Florissant School District bus drivers died this weekend, including one who tested positive for COVID-19, district officials said on Sunday.

The bus driver, who drove a food distribution vehicle for McCluer North High, tested positive for the illness on Saturday and died on Sunday, district officials said.

The district began a food distribution program on March 18 after their schools closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, officials said. The driver had not worked after March 20.

A second bus driver died on Saturday following an unrelated illness. However, that driver also had symptoms of COVID-19. The second driver, who drove a food distribution vehicle for Cross Keys Middle School, did not work any later than March 20, officials said.

A McCluer North staff member has also tested positive for COVID-19, after not working since before spring break. Officials emphasized it has been more than 14 days since any of the three employees has worked, and none were known to be working when they had symptoms.

"In light of these new developments, and in the best interest of our students, families, and employees' safety, we will be suspending food distribution for the week of April 6 through 10," a letter sent Sunday to parents reads. "FFSD Administration is actively seeking other alternatives for food distribution and will provide an update to you and the community when that plan is in place."

The workers handling the food wore gloves, a district spokesman said, in accordance to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The workers were not required to participate in the program, said district spokesman Kevin Hampton.

“We have a number of students who are food insecure, and we told our staff ‘if you have any concerns about participating, stay home,’” Hampton said.

A school bus driver delivering meals to students in Belleville also tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Belleville Township High School District 201, according to a March 30 Facebook post from the district.

The driver delivered about 15 meals each day to Belleville East High School students but did not prepare or distribute the meals.

The Maplewood Richmond Heights School District suspended its meal distribution program April 2 and 3 after a food services worker had a fever. The program resumed April 6 after a "favorable medical report" for the employee, according to the district.

Drive-thru meal pickups are available from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at various St. Louis County Library branch parking lots. Two breakfasts and two lunches will be provided at no charge to children 18 and younger, with support from Operation Food Search.

The branches offering the service are Bridgeton Trails, Florissant Valley, Indian Trails, Jamestown Bluffs, Lewis and Clark, Natural Bridge, Prairie Commons, Rock Road and Weber Road.

• Read about retail stores in the region that are cutting hours or closing due to the coronavirus.

• Read the list of area restaurants that are closing, switching to carryout or otherwise adjusting due to the coronavirus.

• COVID-19 cases in Missouri by county

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