LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Fayette County Public Schools says it anticipates conditions will allow the district to begin a "graduated return" to in-person learning beginning the week of February 16-19.
The district said in a letter that efforts to decrease infection rates appear to be working and the number of cases is trending downward, allowing them to allow a return to in-person learning in some capacity.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Fayette County Public Schools Families:
Efforts to curtail infection rates appear to be working, and we are excited to share that the 7-day average of COVID-19 cases is 168 today, trending down from a high of 264 in January. Although Fayette County remains in the purple range of the FCPS In-Person Learning Matrix, we are optimistic – as are our partners with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department – that cases will continue to decrease.
Based on this information, we anticipate conditions will allow us to begin a graduated return to in-person learning the week of February 16-19, 2021. Please recall that schools and offices are closed Monday, February 15, 2021 for Presidents’ Day.
In accordance with our graduated return model, students in grades K-2 whose families have chosen in-person learning will return to school on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. All other grade levels will continue with NTI: 2DL until their return date is determined.
Remote learning will continue to be an option for families who choose that for their children. Families with questions about the return should contact their child’s school.
Since we are basing today’s announcement on current and anticipated data, we will review conditions on the ground next Tuesday, February 9, in order to affirm this decision.
As we have shared previously, the FCPS In-Person Learning Matrix is not based on a single number. When making decisions about the appropriate mode of instruction, we also consider orders from the governor, student and staff absences, isolations and quarantines, operations and support considerations, community vs. institutional spread, community trends, and vaccine uptake.
We are basing today’s announcement on the following transition factors:
- Community spread of COVID-19 is decreasing steadily.
- FCPS employees who have been vaccinated now have a level of immunity from the first dose.
- FCPS employees will be eligible to receive their second COVID-19 vaccination the week of Feb. 8-12, 2021 and Feb. 16-19, 2021.
- The number of students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 (resulting in isolations) is lower than the first half of January.
Again, we appreciate all our community is doing to help limit the spread and we are excited about welcoming our students back to campus.
Fayette County Public Schools Acting Superintendent
Greg Prince, who started the Let Them Learn Fayette County Facebook page in August, shared the news with his kindergartner and second grader Tuesday.
In a video, Prince's kids react to the news with joy, jumping up and down.
"They're very happy to get the hope," he said.
The announcement is a positive step, he said, but he remains concerned about the lasting impact virtual learning has had for students.
"It's encouraging. It should've happened a long time ago," he said.