FCPS extends closure of all schools to May 1 due to COVID-19

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fayette County Public Schools is following the governor’s recommendation and extending its closure of all schools and offices through at least May 1, 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The governor spoke with school superintendents statewide on Thursday to make the closure extension request.

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Below is the letter FCPS Superintendent Manny Caulk sent to school families:

Dear Fayette County Public Schools Families:

I hope this communication finds you and those you love “Healthy at Home,” as Governor Andy Beshear has advised. Although this week was originally scheduled to be Spring Break for Fayette County Public Schools, we have remained in daily contact with state and local officials to monitor the developing situation related to COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

As predicted, we have continued to see an increase in cases of COVID-19 here in Fayette County and across the state. We are in full support of efforts by Gov. Beshear and Mayor Gorton to mitigate the spread of this virus, and as such, we are officially extending the closure of all schools and offices through at least May 1, 2020.

Although students and staff will not physically be on campus, we will be having school. All Fayette County Public Schools will be offering “Non-Traditional Instruction,” also known as “NTI” for all students beginning April 6, 2020 and continuing for as long as our schools remain closed. As you may have already heard, there will not be any state accountability testing this school year.

Each school has developed its own plans for how to deliver NTI and worked directly with their students and families so that we are prepared to hit the ground running after Spring Break. Some schools developed individualized packets of work for students, others made plans to move to primarily online instruction, and many will provide a mix of both.

Distribution of materials was organized by each school in order to best meet the needs of the students and families they serve. Some schools offered “drive thru” pick-up opportunities, some delivered materials along with meals on our school buses, and others brought materials to families at their door step.

Districtwide, Fayette County Public Schools has roughly 35,000 Chromebooks and laptops available for students to use at home. Based on their NTI plans, schools have made Chromebooks and laptops available for checkout to families on an as-needed basis for student use. Schools have communicated directly with families about requesting and receiving devices.

Most have already begun distribution, and many schools are complete. The district established a process for schools to request additional devices, and at this time, we are not aware of any school that was unable to meet the needs of their students and families with existing inventory.

If you have not heard from your child’s school by April 6, 2020, please reach out in one of the following ways:

  • Check your school’s website, and click on the tab labeled “NTI” for additional information.
  • Email the principal at your child’s school for help.
  • Call the Offices of the School Chiefs. For help with Elementary Schools, call (859) 381-4169 or (859) 381-4234; Middle Schools, call (859) 381-4168; High Schools or Special Programs, call (859) 381-4233.

The district has also set up a temporary help-desk for families who need technical support with their child’s FCPS account or Chromebook. The Student Technology Support line will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays by calling (859) 381-4410.

We know families are hurting during these challenging times and we are working closely with community partners to find resources to provide food, financial assistance, and mental health support. We will be sending a follow up communication soon with additional details and resources. Please look for that information and share with those in your network.

Although we knew this might happen, extending the closure of our schools is still disappointing for all of us. Like yours, my children miss their teachers and friends, and have question that I cannot answer definitively. Providing comfort and reassurance is difficult given the many unknowns we face during this rapidly evolving situation. We are especially sensitive to the importance of special milestone events for our students and we will do everything possible to continue these special traditions.

Lexington is an incredibly caring and generous community. Working together, we will conquer the challenges ahead and take care of one another.

Your Partner,
Manny Caulk
Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent

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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 tkenny@wtvq.com. 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.