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.
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.