Fayette County Schools to pilot voluntary COVID-19 testing program – ABC 36 News – WTVQ

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fayette County Public Schools will pilot a voluntary coronavirus testing program called ‘Test to Stay’ as the number of students quarantined continues to rise.  This as the district reported 197 students and 36 staff members had tested positive for COVID-19 from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, 2021.

As of Sept. 7, 2021, 1,243 students and three employees were in quarantine, according to the school district.

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To see the latest district COVID-19 dashboard, click here.

Fayette County Board of Education Chair Tyler Murphy, Superintendent Demetrus Liggins along with the superintendent and school board chair from Jefferson County Public Schools, sent a joint letter to the governor and legislators as the COVID special session got underway in Frankfort on Tuesday, with key education issues during the pandemic part of the agenda.

Here is a summary of items discussed during the Sept. 7 meeting of the Fayette County Public Schools Core COVID-19 Team:

  • Vaccinations: Free COVID-19 vaccinations will be offered by Wild Health on Saturday, September 11, from noon to 4 p.m. at following locations: Bryan Station High, Edythe J. Hayes Middle, Frederick Douglass High, Henry Clay High, Jessie Clark Middle, Lafayette High, Paul Laurence Dunbar High, and Tates Creek High. Reserve an appointment here. The Lexington Fayette County Health Department will be offering vaccinations at STEAM Academy from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 11. Reserve an appointment here.
  • Test to Stay Pilot: Under the observation and support of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), starting next week, several Fayette County Public Schools will pilot a voluntary program that will allow families of students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school to opt to have their children tested for COVID-19 each morning before school using a rapid PCR test. Students who test negative would be allowed to attend school, and any who test positive would be required to isolate at home. Families choosing not to participate in the pilot testing program would instead follow existing quarantine procedures. This initiative would be in partnership with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and Gravity Diagnostics as well as the CDC. Details are still being finalized and additional information will be forthcoming.
  • Staffing Shortages: In addition to our ongoing recruiting efforts, we are grateful to the Fayette County Board of Education members for approving significant salary increases for substitutes, child nutrition staff and transportation employees. Our hope is that this initial step will help us fill vacancies and we are pulling together a team of classified hourly staff to help us identify next steps. If you would like to provide input or feedback for that discussion, please send an email here prior to noon on Thursday, September 9. If you know of anyone looking for employment, please encourage them to apply at www.fcps.net/jobs.
  • Transportation: We have 10 bus driver candidates who have earned their permits and are working toward licensure, and 23 other individuals studying for their permits. We will be starting another class next week, so there is still time to apply! The district is hiring an external consultant to help us with short-term and long-term solutions that could include pre-scheduled bus cancellations or delays that would enable families to make advance arrangements and ensure that the same families are not impacted repeatedly. We have identified routes that can be outsourced and we are working on a possible fourth tier of start times and long term sustainability. We have also placed a priority on ensuring people are available to answer phone calls.
  • Child Nutrition: We’re excited to welcome three new staff members to the Child Nutrition Team. To help us with our remaining 54 vacancies, we have met with leaders from local churches and faith groups and the 16th District PTA to solicit their help filling substitute and cafeteria vacancies.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at [email protected] You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.