Fayette County Public Schools extends Thanksgiving break to full week

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fayette County Public Schools superintendent announced on Tuesday that two days are being added to the district’s Thanksgiving Break, giving students, faculty and staff the entire week off, Nov. 22-26, 2021.

Also on Tuesday, Morton Middle School was added to Fayette County Public Schools ‘Test to Stay’ pilot program, according to the district.

Morton joins Breckinridge, Clays Mill, Dixie, James Lane Allen and Julius Marks elementaries, Crawford and Jessie Clark middle schools. Families from the participating schools are encouraged to sign and return their consent forms in order to participate.

The school district’s Core COVID-19 Team on Tuesday discussed quarantining for fully vaccinated students, the “scheduled” bus service reductions, the ongoing staffing shortages and the employee vaccination incentive program.

Below is a summary from the team:

  • Vaccinated Students: Students who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are exempt from quarantine unless they develop symptoms of the virus. To prevent unnecessary quarantines of asymptomatic, vaccinated students, we would like to invite families whose children are fully vaccinated – at their own discretion – to submit proof of the vaccination to the school. This will enable your student’s school to have that information on file and not unnecessarily ask your asymptomatic, vaccinated student to quarantine. If this is a process your family would like to participate in, you can either bring your student’s proof-of-vaccination card to the school or submit a scanned copy or photo of your student’s proof-of-vaccination card to the school attendance office. Once received, the school nurse will verify authenticity and ensure the information is confidentially stored in your child’s records. Thank you in advance for your help in maximizing the time our students have in school. If you are interested in getting your child vaccinated, please visit www.fcps.net/vaccines.
  • Scheduled Bus Service Reductions: Beginning next week, FCPS will follow a pre-announced schedule of bus cancellations and delays, which should give families more time to make alternate plans for getting their children to and from school. This rotation will also ensure that the same routes are not affected repeatedly. The week that your bus route does not run, families should try to find another way for their child to get to and from school. If they are unable to make other arrangements for transportation, the child’s absence will be excused. If an afternoon bus route is delayed, transportation will be available at 4:45 p.m. after other routes are completed and additional drivers are available. Families are encouraged to find a different way home for their children. FCPS will send reminder emails, calls, and text messages to affected families the week before. Click here for a list of October’s morning cancellations and afternoon delays.
  • Staffing Shortage: We are still hiring full time employees in our transportation and child nutrition departments and looking for substitutes in all areas. Roughly 85 people attended our job fair on Saturday and we are still accepting applications at www.fcps.net/jobs.
  • Employee Vaccination Incentive Program: The Fayette County Board of Education voted last night to approve a $200 stipend for FCPS employees who are fully vaccinated before December 1. More information will be available in October about how employees can submit their proof of vaccination. There is still time to get vaccinated — appointments are available here.

The school district also released the latest coronavirus statistics:

As of September 28, 2021:  1,099 students and 8 employees in quarantine.

For the week of September 21-27, 2021:  183 new student cases, 39 new staff cases, 962 new student quarantines and 8 new staff quarantines.

Below is a message from Superintendent Demetrus Liggins:

Our hearts remain with all those touched by the tragic death of Christopher “C.J.” Gordon last week to COVID-19.

C.J. was a kind, thoughtful young man who brought light and laughter to his friends, classmates, teachers, and all who knew him. When we lose a student or staff member, our entire school district community mourns.

We take encouragement from Dr. Humbaugh’s observation that new cases are trending down in Lexington. Since our schools are a reflection of the communities we serve, we are also seeing fewer cases of COVID-19 among students and staff. This is great news for everyone, and with the addition of our test-to-stay pilot program, we hope to maximize the amount of time our students have in school.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone for your efforts to ensure that our schools are safe and caring places for students to learn and staff to work. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how interconnected we are as a community and the important roles we all play in supporting one another.

Providing in-person learning for our students has been a heavy lift for all of us, requiring flexibility and patience in the face of uncertainty. In spite of transportation cancellations and delays, staffing shortages, and expected illness or quarantines, our students, families, and staff have pulled together and made the most of our first seven weeks of school.

Our fall break next week Thursday and Friday (Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, 2021) will provide a much-deserved opportunity for everyone to relax and spend time with loved ones.

Some have suggested FCPS should close for five days next week, but such a change requires more notice to provide our families time to prepare. Instead, I have directed the FCPS calendar committee to examine the possibility of a week-long fall break for the 2022-23 school year.

In recognition of how hard everyone is working under challenging conditions this year, I have decided to extend Thanksgiving Break by two days, giving students and staff the full week of Thanksgiving off, instead of only Wednesday through Friday. We will not make up these days as part of the instructional calendar.

Please be well and take care of one another,

DL

Categories: Coronavirus Updates, Featured, Local News, News

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