FCPS reports continued decline in COVID numbers, Test-to-Stay program could expand

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – As COVID numbers across the state continue to decline, so does Fayette County Public Schools’ (FCPS) trends.

As of Oct. 26, there were 289 students and five employees in quarantine, according to FCPS.

The district reported during the week of Oct. 19 to Oct. 25, there were 87 new student cases, 11 new staff cases, 256 new student quarantines and one new staff quarantine.

FCPS also provided the following updates of items discussed during the Oct. 26 meeting of the FCPS Core COVID-19 Team:

Transportation and Child Nutrition Staffing: Applications are still being accepted, but FCPS has made significant headway on the recruitment of bus drivers and child nutrition employees. There are 21 people with permits currently training on the buses and an additional 24 studying for their permits. Anyone interested in joining Team FCPS should visit www.fcps.net/jobs.

Supply Chain Issues: Fayette County child nutrition staff are closely monitoring product shortages that have started impacting school cafeterias across the country. Students and families may see menu changes or substitutions if certain ingredients are in short supply, at this time we do not anticipate any shortage of food for our students.

Test-to-Stay-in-School: Families at our eight pilot sites may begin receiving phone calls from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientists this week as part of their review of our program. Since we began the Test-to-Stay-in-School approach, we have given 443 tests and only had 4 positive results. As we see a need at schools in addition to our pilot sites, we may expand the availability of the test-to-stay option at other schools on a case-by-case basis.

Vaccinations: We are closely watching developments on the possible approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for 5- to 11-year-old children. Once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) take action, we will work with local and state health experts to determine next steps as appropriate.

Below is the weekly message from FCPS Superintendent Demetrus Liggins:

We continue to be encouraged by the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases in our community and are excited to see that the number of students and staff testing positive for the virus or needing to quarantine is falling as well.

During our meeting with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department this morning, Commissioner Kraig Humbaugh encouraged us to remain vigilant about the layered health and safety precautions we have implemented in FCPS this year. The measures in place, including masking, are helping us minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 in our schools, Humbaugh said.

We have also had promising results in our eight schools piloting the Test to Stay in School option. Since the program began on Sept. 27, 443 students have been tested for COVID -19 and only four have tested positive. That has made it possible for the vast majority of participating students to stay in school rather than quarantine at home. As we see a need at schools in addition to our pilot sites, we may expand the availability of the test-to-stay option at other schools on a case-by-case basis.

One of my top priorities is ensuring our students are able to attend school in-person and we will keep doing what works.

Please be well and take care of one another,

DL

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