Fayette County Schools adds new partner offering free COVID-19 testing

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) has added another testing partner to help make free voluntary COVID-19 testing available for students, staff and families as the district prepares to launch its ‘Test to Stay’ pilot program.

The district says Bluewater Lab will soon offer PCR tests in addition to Wild Health.  Testing locations and options are updated each week here.

The district says people should check before going and remember that some sites require an appointment. Testing is open and free for all students, employees and families of Fayette County Public Schools.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Fayette County Public Schools Core COVID-19 Team, a staffing shortage update was given.  The district says it’s still hiring full time employees in transportation and child nutrition departments and looking for substitutes in all areas. People can apply at www.fcps.net/jobs.  The district says it hopes to hire 36 full-time and relief bus drivers and 46 full-time food service employees.

The school district will be participating in the vaccine incentive for staff being sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Education. All employees who are fully vaccinated before December 1 will be eligible to receive a stipend. FCPS says more information will be available soon.

The district says as of Sept. 21, 2021, there were 1,251 students and 5 employees in quarantine due to COVID-19.

For the week of Sept. 14-20, 2021, the district reported 270 new student cases and 43 new staff cases.

Below is a release from FCPS Superintendent Demetrus Liggins:

All of our employees and families should have received information yesterday about our “Test to Stay in School” pilot program, which will begin next week at Breckinridge, Clays Mill, Dixie, James Lane Allen, and Julius Marks elementary schools, as well as Crawford and Jessie Clark middle schools.

We are implementing this initiative in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Kentucky Department of Health, and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, following its success in other states and nations.

Many of you have asked for the source of the data I used in yesterday’s announcement of the “Test to Stay in School” pilot when referencing the low in-school transmission of the virus. Findings from several studies cited by the CDC suggest that when precautions such as the ones we have in place here in FCPS are consistently followed, transmission in schools is minimal.

Additionally, research conducted in Britain and Utah have found that the “test to stay” approach is both safe and effective in reducing the amount of instructional time students miss because of quarantines.

In Utah, officials found that case rates were not significantly higher at schools that allowed students to remain in class with daily testing than at those that required at-home quarantines. In Britain, only 2 percent of school-based close contacts ultimately tested positive for the virus, which means that at-home quarantines were keeping 49 uninfected students out of class for every one student who tested positive.

Those findings are in line with what we have seen anecdotally happening in our schools. Although there have been cases of students testing positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to a classmate, that is not common. Most of the FCPS students who have contracted the virus have done so following exposure outside of school at home or in social settings.

We will be closely monitoring data from our “test to stay in school” campuses – as will our health partners – to determine whether to expand this program. For additional information, please visit www.fcps.net/test2stay or call 859-381-3949.

Please be well and take care of one another.

Thank you for your partnership,

DL

Categories: Coronavirus Updates, Featured, Local News, News