Coronavirus causes closures and cancelations

    Coronavirus – or COVID-19 – is the topic on everyone’s minds, and the driving force behind cancellations of everything from school to festivals and regular court proceedings. The following are cancelations and new procedures in the local area.



STEELVILLE SCHOOLS CLOSED
    Steelville administration decided on Monday to close school and cancel all school activities beginning on Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, April 3. Superintendent Mike Whittaker wrote the following letter to caregivers:
    “As our local, national, and international communities continue to assess the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Steelville School District receives guidance from local and state health departments, the Missouri Department of Education, and the Center for Disease Control.
    “I am writing this letter to inform you of the closure of the Steelville School District beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020 through Friday, April 3, 2020. Classes are currently scheduled to resume on Monday, April 6, 2020. All co-curricular practices, athletic events, and other school activities are canceled during this time. During this extended break, the facilities will continue to be cleaned and disinfected in preparation for our return to school.
    “Our administrative team and our teachers are in the process of finalizing plans for continued learning during this extended break. Those plans will be finalized and shared in the coming days. The format for lessons will likely be different for each building. I encourage you to make sure your child is in attendance on Tuesday. This will allow teachers to prepare your child for the break by reviewing lesson plans, materials, and expectations.
    “Although I recognize that closing our schools presents hardships for our community, I believe we are now at the point where the closure of our schools is the best decision to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The health of our students, their families, our employees, and the community is our top priority. In the coming days and weeks, we will work with local and state agencies to develop plans to provide critical support services for students and families in our community.  
    “Moving forward, should there be additional information, it will be communicated by our district messaging system, our website, and through social media. I do encourage you to complete a survey at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZR2J6J8. The survey provides a forum for you to ask questions regarding this extended break and to update your contact information.
    “Thank you for your patience and support.

CRAWFORD COUNTY COURTS
    In response to the current pandemic, the following notice has been posted at the Crawford County courthouse:
    “If you have the symptoms of an acute respiratory illness, and you are a prospective juror, a party or witness in a hearing, or have any business at the courthouse, please read this notice
    “The 42nd Judicial Circuit Court is taking precautions to maintain a safe and healthy court environment for all visitors and staff.
    “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness which includes congestion, runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever, body aches, or fatigue stay home until they recover and are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
    “Prospective jurors who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are requested to stay home and not report for jury duty until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). If you are ill, do not report for duty and contact the Presiding Circuit Judge’s office at (573) 729-6816, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM to reschedule your service.
    “If you have a pending court hearing in the next week, and you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, please contact your lawyer and inform your lawyer of your illness so that a continuance can be sought. If you do not have an attorney and you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, please call the Circuit Clerk’s office at 573-775-2866 and follow the prompts, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. (excluding 12-1).  Please have your case number, court date, and court division available when you call.
    “If you are a witness in a hearing, and you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, please contact the attorney or party that subpoenaed you and inform them of your illness so that other arrangements can be made to accommodate you.

CHAMBER DINNER
    On Monday, the Steelville Chamber of Commerce made the decision to postpone the annual banquet meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday evening, March 17. The event was to include dinner and the announcement of Citizen of the Year and Business of the Year.
A new date has been yet been set but the Chamber will provide notification when that is scheduled. Those with tickets are asked to keep them for use at the rescheduled event.

LOCAL LIBRARIES
    On Monday, the Crawford County Library District (CCLD) determined to close its branches to the public beginning on Wednesday, March 18.
    The Facebook post announcing the closure noted, “The COVID-19 health crisis is altering daily routines and life for our communities, state, nation and world. Data supports the practice of early social distancing to help slow the spread of the virus. ‘Flattening the Curve,’ as they have labeled it, is a huge step in making certain our healthcare systems are not overwhelmed by dramatic increase in serious cases.”
    Library officials reviewed information from public health officials and, in response to the closing of county school districts, made the decision to close our branches to the public beginning on March 18, with a tentative re-opening date of April 6. Patrons may keep their current library materials at home and no fines will be assessed.
    Library personnel also reminded patrons of the 24/7 availability of digital resources like e-books, audiobooks, music, movies, and databases. They encouraged patrons to take advantage of these options, noting that directions for their use has been published on their social media and webpage.
    The Facebook post concluded, “We commit to keeping you informed and will regularly update. This was not a decision made lightly by the Library Board and Director. We appreciate the support of our staff, our patrons and our community during these extraordinary circumstances.”

STEELVILLE SENIOR LIVING
    Beginning on March 13, Steelville Senior Living implemented the following procedure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, as directed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
    All visitors are restricted from entering the facility at this time.
    The only exceptions to this restriction are:
    • Visiting a family member or loved one that is experiencing an end-of-life situation.
    • Emergency situations.
    • Situations necessary for the resident’s emotional wellbeing.
    For any of the above exceptions, you must contact the administrator of the facility before an approved visit.
    Approved visitors must immediately proceed directly to the nurse’s station. Do not interact with anyone until you have been greeted by a staff member, where you will be required to sign in. You will then be escorted to a resident room.
    You may visit with your family member or loved one in their room only. You may not wander the halls, use the public restroom or enter the dining area. While in the facility, please limit the surface areas that you come in contact with, as well as physical interaction. This includes shaking hands and hugging.
    If you exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or acute illness within 14 days following your visit, you must report this to the facility administrator Immediately.
    SSL reported there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the facility.

CRAWFORD COUNTY 911 EMERGENCY SERVICES
    On March 13, the agency determined to close the CenCom office and dispatch center to all visitors. This includes all emergency services personnel, family members, vendors, and those seeking new addresses. Emergency 911 services will continue to be fully functional. Those seeking new addresses can call Lisa Martellaro at 573-775-4911 x 2.
    Director Brad England noted, “Our agency is taking these steps to minimize exposure to the COVID-19 virus while still providing quality 911 services. The health and well-being of our employees is paramount. We will continue to stand our post, take 911 calls, and serve the citizens of Crawford.”

CUBA/BOURBON SENIOR CENTERS
    The Cuba and Bourbon Senior Centers have also announced they are no longer serving meals at their facilities, but will be offering curbside service. “To ensure the well-being of our clients the Cuba and Bourbon Senior Centers will be closed for congregate meals and activities,” the Cuba Senior Center announced via Facebook. “However, we will be offering a curbside meal, hot or frozen, that can be picked up at the center.” You may contact the senior center at 573-885-2909.

GOLDEN ECHOES
    The Golden Echoes Senior Center in Steelville will close on Wednesday, March 18 for congregate meals. Home-delivered meal service will continue, and other meals may be picked up curbside. Please call 573-775-2414 by 10 a.m. for either delivery or pickup.

RALLY IN THE 100 ACRE WOOD
    After extensive consultation by officials with the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood with local and national health departments, governmental officials, community members, competitors and volunteers, as well as officials from the American Rally Association, the ARA National rally scheduled for March 20-21 in Missouri has been cancelled.
    The decision to cancel the event was made as a result of concern for the health and safety of competitors, volunteers, fans and the host. All options were exhausted in an effort to create a safe environment and an atmosphere that officials hoped would bring a respite from the current climate that surrounds the outbreak of COVID-19.
    There are no formal plans to reschedule the event, although several options are being considered. Information regarding event refunds or similar event logistics will be handled and communicated in the coming days.
    The ARA is also in discussion with organizers of upcoming events including the Olympus Rally in April and Oregon Trail Rally in May, and will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days and weeks. Decisions will be made on an event-by-event basis.
    Rally officials thanked everyone involved in the rally community for their support and passion over the past few days as the situation regarding the Coronavirus continues to rapidly change.

RUNNING THE RAILS POSTPONED
    Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Running the Rails on Route 66 event that was scheduled for March 21 has been postponed. Organizers are now planning to hold the race in October.
    The following release was issued on March 13:
    “The Running the Rails on Route 66 race committee is committed to the welfare of our participants and to the city of Cuba. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 situation, we have made the decision to postpone the race scheduled for March 21 to October 24. We realize that this news may come as a disappointment to everyone who has been training for the event.
    “We have been in close communication with the Crawford County Health Department, as well as Big River Running Company. We are committed first and foremost to taking responsible action to further prevent the spread of this virus. We are also committed to organizing a safe and efficient event, and it has become clear during the week that this would be very difficult to accomplish during a time when resources such as medical teams, volunteers, and vendors may be strained under the impact of this situation.
    “In closing, we would like to speak to you, our running community, personally. We have organized this race for 12 years and have had the privilege to witness the extraordinary strength, determination and kindness of the incredible network of runners and walkers we have here. We have organized races in perfect weather, freezing weather, rainy weather and more. You have supported us—and each other—through all of it. We would not be here without you: encouraging each other and believing in the mission of what we do. We have no doubt that we will do the same this time. In the meantime, keep running, stay healthy, and please accept our heartfelt thanks on behalf of the entire committee of The Running the Rails on Route 66 committee.”

BE3
    The Be3 women’s empowerment event that was going to be held at Recklein Auditorium in Cuba on Saturday, March 21 has been postponed. As of Monday, it had not been rescheduled.
    The free event, which was designed to “Empower, Encourage, and Elevate” women was to include food, wine, dancing, and more. The speaker for the evening was going to be Carey Portell, of St. James, a drunk driving accident survivor. Look for updates on the event at www.be3event.com.

SLIGOFEST
    SligoFest, the “Ireland in the Ozarks” event scheduled for Saturday, March 21, has been postponed until a later date.