Pettis County school districts released the following joint statement Wednesday afternoon:

Pettis County school districts, along with local health and government officials, continue to monitor the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). To help ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff, and to do our part in trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout the county, all school districts listed below are announcing an extended school closure.

This closure will begin immediately and will preliminarily end Friday, April 3. All school activities, including athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, have been canceled during the time schools are closed.

The decision to close our school districts was difficult, made in consultation with all area superintendents and out of great caution for our families. We know that closing our schools will have a significant impact on our families, but we also believe that urgent action must be taken to prevent the spread of this disease.

Individual school districts will be in contact with their communities to provide additional information regarding ongoing learning plans, as well as social services for those in need. In addition, how and when potential extensions of this school closing will be decided are also under discussion and will be shared as soon as these decisions have been made.

Our goal is to protect the safety, health, and wellness of our students, staff members, and families. Our strength as a community is our greatest asset. In making this decision, we are working together to protect each other and slow the progression of COVID-19. We will continue to remain in contact with public health officials, elected leaders, and neighboring school districts and keep parents and media updated with new information as it becomes available.

We thank our community members for their support and partnership in this effort.

La Monte R-IV School District, Sedalia School District #200, Green Ridge R-VIII School District, Pettis County R-V (Northwest) School District, Sacred Heart Schools, St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Pettis County R-XII (Dresden) School District, Smithton R-VI School District and Applewood Christian School