Fayette County to discontinue student temperature checks

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Beginning this Thursday, April 8, Fayette County Public Schools will no longer check the temperature of students before entering school buildings or getting on buses, according to the district.

Last week the Kentucky Department of Education updated its Healthy at School Guidance and announced schools no longer were expected to screen students for temperatures before entering buildings or getting on a bus.

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Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm says the school district discussed the new state guidance with experts from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and that those experts were in agreement with the state’s new guidance.

Helm says the district still needs families to monitor their children for signs of illness, including a fever.

She says Fayette County will still take the temperature of students who get sick at school.  If a student has any COVID-19 symptoms, there is also the option of rapid testing for families.

Helm says the district still faces “intermittent challenges” with bus driver staffing.  She reminds families it is critical the school district has accurate contact information on file so families can be reached in case of last minute changes to school bus routes and schedules.

Helm’s letter sent to families Tuesday night is below:

Dear Fayette County Public Schools Families:

Welcome back from spring break! I hope each of you had the opportunity to spend time – safely – with loved ones last week. We have hit the ground running this week, excited to finish the last six weeks of school.

Today’s meeting with our partners from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department revealed continued good news with low numbers of community spread, and a 7-day average of new cases of just 25. The doctors advised us that any uptick caused by spring break travel or gatherings would not be visible for roughly 10 days to two weeks. We remain hopeful that our community followed best practices and everyone remains healthy.

While we were on break, you may have seen that the Kentucky Department of Education updated its Healthy at School Guidance and schools are no longer expected to screen students for temperatures before entering buildings or riding the school bus. We discussed this new information with the health experts from the Health Department this morning, and they are in agreement with this change. Thus, as a district, we will discontinue daily temperature checks for students beginning Thursday, April 8, 2021.

We still need our families to monitor their children for signs of illness, included a fever. Children exhibiting a fever should be kept at home. Please do not give your child fever-reducing medication and send them to school.

We will still take the temperatures of students who experience illness while at school. If a student begins displaying symptoms of COVID-19, we also have the option of offering rapid testing for families who want that opportunity. Tests are administered only with parent or guardian permission, and only in the presence of an adult designated by the family.

We continue to face intermittent challenges with bus driver staffing. Changes with our transportation supports have made a difference and we have only had a handful of routes cancelled or delayed. It is critical that families have accurate contact information on file so that we can reach you about last minute changes to school bus routes and schedules. Please be sure your child’s school has your updated phone number in case our transportation team needs to reach you.

Greater numbers of people are now fully vaccinated, and it’s especially encouraging that vaccines are now available to everyone 16 years of age and older. Appointments to receive the vaccine, which is free and safe, are available at:

  • https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/covid-19/vaccine for the Pfizer vaccine, available to anyone 16 or older.
  • lfchd.org/vaccine for the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, available to anyone 18 or older.
  • Or check https://vaccinefinder.org for other locations.
  • Free rides to COVID-19 vaccination clinics are available through Federated Transportation Services of the Bluegrass. Please call 1-888-848-0989 in advance to schedule a ride.

Thank you for your continued support and flexibility as we navigate the landscape of in-person schooling during a pandemic. It takes all of us working in concert to ensure our students continue to have this opportunity, and we appreciate all you are doing to help!

Sincerely,

Marlene Helm

Fayette County Public Schools Acting 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.