UPDATE: Fayette schools to start ‘test-and-stay’ Sept. 27

UPDATE POSTED 4 P.M. SEPT. 20, 2021

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fayette County Schools Superintendent Demetrus Liggins released more details Monday evening about the district’s new ‘test-and-stay’ program to try to reduce the number of students quarantined because of exposure to COVID.

The information is similar to what was first announced by the district last week but does include a few additional details (Frequently Asked Questions).

Test-to-stay, which starts Sept. 27, is an optional program that will allow students who are exposed to the virus in school-related settings only to continue to attend school IF:

  • they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, AND
  • they test negative for COVID-19 during free on-campus testing before school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Participating schools are Breckinridge, Clays Mill, Dixie, James Lane Allen, and Julius Marks elementary schools, as well as Crawford and Jessie Clark middle schools.

The program is in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Kentucky Department of Health, and Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

“Thankfully, we have found that it is very rare for students to develop COVID-19 because of an in-school exposure. Most cases of COVID-19 are spread through household or community contacts,” Liggins said.

“Fayette County Public Schools is committed to providing a safe in-person learning environment that maximizes the amount of time our students and staff are together on campus. As such, we have adopted layered prevention strategies designed to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. Given the current acceleration of COVID-19 cases the greater Fayette County community is experiencing, a growing number of FCPS students have been placed in quarantine because of potential exposures both on and off campus,” he continued.

The schools were chosen based on the numbers of COVID-19 cases and quarantines they have experienced recently. The district also tried to select schools in many different areas of town, in order to get a good population sample.

“This program has worked safely and successfully in school districts across the U.S. and we are excited to give our children this opportunity. We know that in-person learning is best for our students and we want to keep them in school as much as possible,” Liggins said.

“The pandemic remains an evolving situation in our community, and as health guidance has changed throughout the past 19 months, FCPS has adapted our practice. We will continue to make decisions to safeguard the health and safety of our students and staff,” he concluded.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 8:10 A.M. SEPT. 15, 2021

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The day after the district put a school on remote learning to head off a school-wide COVID outbreak, Fayette County Public Schools announced details of its test-and-stay program.

The district and its Core COVID-19 team finalized the plan during a day of meetings Tuesday.

Two middle schools and five elementary schools will participate in the district’s pilot of a voluntary test to stay quarantine option under the observation and support of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other partners in this effort are the Kentucky Department of Public Health, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and Gravity Diagnostics

District staff will communicate with families at these seven school to share specific protocols, consent forms and frequently asked questions.

At participating schools, students who are identified as a close contact to a positive patient will have the option – with family consent – to come to the testing location, generally the gym or cafeteria of the school, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during their quarantine period and wait for testing.

The tests that are being used are rapid PCR tests that will take 30-45 minutes to process.

Once the results are known, students who test negative will proceed to class. Those who test positive will be sent home and will need to isolate for the duration of their contagious period.

The district said it selected schools on the basis of COVID-19 cases and quarantines at the time it began the program. It also tried to select schools in different areas of town, in order to get a good population sample.

The program is being piloted to determine if it will be expanded to additional schools.

The program is only for elementary and middle schools right now, since most students in those buildings are not eligible for vaccinations. At the high school level, students have the option of getting vaccinated so that they will not have to quarantine unless they display symptoms of COVID-19.

The district also said it is “excited to welcome three new bus drivers and one new substitute driver.”

Four more drivers are expected to be ready to start driving, the district said.
An additional 18 candidates are studying for their permits and 20 more are lined up for a class to begin next week, according to the district.
In the area of child nutrition, the district said it is seeing “fewer vacancies each day, but we are still looking to hire more than 50 additional people.”
To join the Fayette County Public Schools full-time in either area, or as a substitute for these as well as classroom positions, visit www.fcps.net/jobs.

According to its update, the district which has 42,000 students and 8,000 staff, reported 337 new student COVID cases and 38 new staff cases between Sept. 7 and Sept. 13 with 1,484 new student quarantines and one new staff quarantine.

As of September 14, 2021, 1,361 students and no employees were in quarantine.

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