NewsLEX 18 Investigates

Actions

FCPS employees express concern over planned rally during COVID increase

School Bus
Posted at 7:00 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 19:09:24-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Fayette County Public Schools employees expressed concern Monday about a planned rally scheduled days before the start of school.

The large gathering, scheduled two days before the start of school, would bring teachers and staff to Rupp Arena, according to an internal email shared with LEX 18.

With Fayette County listed as having a high COVID transmission and cases on the rise, LEX 18 heard from some teachers and staff who were worried the mass gathering could cause COVID-19 to spread.

Nema Brewer, an organizer with KY 120 United- AFT, said she’s also heard from a number of Fayette County schools employees who were concerned about the gathering, and the fact that masks might not be required.

“Several of our members … are concerned about a possible super-spreader this close to school,” Brewer said. “Especially whenever we just came out of probably one of the hardest years ever for educators and public school employees … not just educators, our cafeteria workers, our bus drivers, our monitors.”

The concerned employees are hoping for, at minimum, mandatory masking at the event, Brewer said.

In a statement, FCPS Superintendent Demetrus Liggins wrote that "celebration in the workplace is an important part of building a team, energizing staff and creating a culture of enjoyment and recognition."

Liggins went on to say that the gathering will provide an opportunity to recognize accomplishments of the past year and introduce staff to "the tenets of the district's newly adopted strategic plan."

While the superintendent and FCPS's COVID-19 Team continue to meet with health officials, the district's "Either Way is OK" mask policy is still in place, according to the statement.

"The health and safety of our employees and students is always our number one priority and the experiences of the past two years have shown us that there has been very little transmission on the school bus and during school assemblies, even after our 'Either Way is OK' policy was implemented," Liggins said in the statement.

Ahead of the gathering, employees will receive welcome packets that include masks and hand sanitizer. Employees have also been directed to stay home if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, and the district strongly recommends employees be fully vaccinated and take "precautions appropriate for their individual circumstances," according to the statement.