LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fayette County Public Schools on Thursday said its targeted services for small groups of students at elementary, middle and high schools and special programs have been a “great success.” The program, which began Oct. 19, proves that “we can safely provide in-person learning for small groups of students even when our community has been in the state’s red designation for incidence rates,” the district said in a press release.
Even though the Fayette County community has been in the state’s red designation for incidence rates since Oct. 28, FCPS has continued to serve close to 4,000 students each week. Targeted services are allowed under the state guidelines “at school discretion” when a community is red.
“We have had tremendous success, and credit our instructional and support staff at every level for all they have done to coordinate these offerings as well as our families for your support and flexibility,” said Manny Caulk, Fayette County Public Schools superintendent.
While cases of COVID-19 have risen in Fayette County, and there have been cases among students and staff who participated in the on-campus services, there has been no transmission between students or between students and staff, and those isolated cases have not interrupted services districtwide.
“Looking ahead, we recognize that Thanksgiving is one of the biggest family holidays of the year,” Caulk said, encouraging everyone to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by following the recommendations from Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Department of Public Health.
“We have to anticipate the likelihood that families will travel or gather and unfortunately, we know those activities could drive community spread,” he said. “Ideally, we would want to pause targeted services for 14 days after Thanksgiving break to mitigate the risk and give people time to quarantine after potential exposure.”
Because that pause would have the district restarting targeted services during the last week of school before winter break, when classes are wrapping up and exams have begun, Caulk said, “we have made the decision to begin winding down targeted services before the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Each school sets its own schedule, but across the district we expect the last day for targeted services to be on or before November 20.
Teaching and learning through NTI: 2DL will continue until the last day of school before winter break on Dec. 18. Some limited special education services may also continue.
When school starts again in January, FCPS plans to have students whose families selected in-person instruction back on campus, while students whose families selected remote instruction will learn virtually. If Fayette County’s incidence rates are in the red as January approaches, then in-person learning could start as NTI: 2DL until cases decrease. In that case, FCPS could offer targeted services again, since that is allowed for communities in the red. If Fayette County is green, yellow or orange, students will be back in school, the district said.