LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Fayette County Public School officials have confirmed to LEX 18 that a transportation worker in the district has died from complications related to the Coronavirus.
Fayette County Public Schools Director of Transportation Marcus Dobbs released this statement:
“We are grieved by the loss of Eugenia Weathers, who has been a member of our transportation team for 17 years. Eugenia was one of our relief drivers, so she by the nature of her work, she was very flexible and approached every situation with a positive attitude. She had a great disposition and personality, a wonderful sense of humor, and the rare ability to find joy in everyday life.”
A district spokesperson responding to questions from LEX 18 wrote that out of 630 transportation employees, 19 have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of those patients work at the Liberty Road garage and 17 work at the Miles Point garage.
Reportedly out of 9,057 staff members, 27 have tested positive for the virus that the district is aware of.
School officials said that the district is the second largest employer in Fayette County, and more cases are expected.
"Protecting the health and safety of all Fayette County Public Schools employees, while continuing to provide for the physical, emotional and instructional needs of the children and families we are called to serve is a top priority for our district," Fayette County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Myron Thompson said in a statement.
District officials say that they have been working closely with the health department since before the first case was even reported in order to implement best practices for the safety of students and staff.
In regards to the district's transparency and actions following the first transportation employee testing positive, a district spokeswoman released this:
"On Monday, March 23, we learned that a transportation employee who was not directly involved with the delivery of meals to children and had a separate workspace with very limited exposure to others tested positive. We notified the only other employee identified to have an elevated risk, sent the employee home to self-quarantine, and shared information about the positive test widely with transportation employees and the public. On Wednesday, March 25, a transportation employee who was part of the meal delivery service tested positive and we immediately halted the school bus delivery of meals.
"We implemented several measures to encourage good hygiene and social distancing, including making additional hand sanitizer and gloves available, switching to paper time sheets to keep employees from touching time clocks, and repeatedly asking employees not to congregate in the common areas of the bus garage. Those reporting to work early or waiting between bus runs were directed to move to their cars or sit apart on school busses. These steps were outlined in written memos, emails and emphasized verbally. When employees continued to gather in the break room, we removed the chairs and folded up the tables."
District officials say all non-essentially employees have been instructed to work remotely and they are taking all measures possible to reduce the number of times staff members have to be on campus.