FCPS COVID cases decline; vans in service to combat bus driver shortage

The number of new student and staff COVID-19 cases are down significantly from an all-time high two weeks ago

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two weeks ago, Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) recorded a record number of new COVID-19 cases among students and staff.  On Tuesday, the school district reported a decline in cases while the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reported the Omicron variant of COVID-19 appears to be retreating.

Two weeks ago the school district reported 1, 150 new student cases of the virus and 279 new staff cases.  On Tuesday, those numbers were down to 701-and-138 respectively.  Those totals are from Jan. 25-31, 2022.  Experts predict those numbers will decline rapidly over the coming weeks.

In the ongoing bus driver shortage, the district reported two vans began providing transportation last week for 18 students at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  That made it possible for two bus drivers to take on routes that previously were not staffed due to the driver shortage, according to FCPS.

The district says it hopes to add a third van soon.  The district contracted with an outside van service to provide additional transportation for students to combat the bus driver shortage and reduce the number of cancelled or delayed bus routes due to the shortage.

Lexington-Fayette County Health Department Interim Chief Administrative Officer Jessica Cobb told school officials that the seven day average of new cases in the county is down to 855 cases a day compared with 1,108 this time last week. Cobb says the health department is now able to keep up with new cases each day, but is still working to enter a backlog of cases from the past few weeks.

Vaccinations continue to be the best defense against serious illness, according to Cobb.  She says 94 percent of those individuals aged 60 and younger who died of COVID-19 were not vaccinated.

According to the health department, in Fayette County, the percentage of individuals who are fully vaccinated is:

  • 30% of those aged 5 to 11
  • 59% of those aged 12 to 15
  • 64% of those aged 16 and 17
  • 46% of those aged 18 to 24
  • 64% of those aged 25 to 39
  • 73% of those aged 40 to 49
  • 77% of those aged 50 to 64
  • 90% of those aged 65 to 74
  • 87% of those aged 75 and above

Here is a summary of items discussed during the February 1, 2022 meeting of the Fayette County Public Schools Core COVID-19 Team:

Transportation Staffing

We’re happy to report that two vans hit the streets last week, providing transportation services for a total of 18 students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. This made it possible for two bus drivers with CDL certification to take on routes that were previously not staffed. We hope to add a third van soon. We also have 17 individuals working toward their licensure and five more who passed the test to receive their permits. In the meantime, we have announced planned schedule changes for the month of February here.

We are still looking for more bus drivers and child nutrition staff. Please encourage anyone you know who is looking for a great way to serve students to visit www.fcps.net/jobs.

Here is this week’s COVID-19 update from Superintendent Demetrus Liggins:

I’m glad January is over.

After several weeks of rising cases, I’m encouraged to see the numbers of students and employees testing positive for COVID-19 on the decline.

Two weeks ago we hit an all-time high of 1,150 new student cases and 279 new staff cases. This week we’re down to 701 and 138, respectively. Based on what other communities across the nation have experienced, experts predict those numbers will decline rapidly over the coming weeks.

To get an idea of just how much of a peak we hit last month, consider that:

  • 587 students tested positive for COVID-19 in September 2021.
  • 245 students tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2021.
  • 176 students tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2021.
  • 256 students tested positive for COVID-19 in December 2021.
  • 2,189 students tested positive for COVID-19 in January 2022.

Thank you for your patience and support as we’ve weathered the Omicron storm together. All signs point to better times ahead. Now if we can just get that groundhog to cooperate on the weather.

Please be safe and stay healthy,

DL

Categories: Coronavirus Updates, Featured, Local News, News

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