Ready for the new school year that starts Monday, Aug. 5? Teachers and staff are awaiting the arrival of an expected 20,400 students next week at the system’s 24 schools.
The school system ended the previous year with 20,354 students enrolled.
Schools over capacity this year include Kedron and North Fayette elementary schools, Booth Middle School and McIntosh High School.
When dropping off or picking up students, Oak Grove Elementary parents will see something different when school begins.
School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said two years ago, due to traffic concerns with student drop off at Oak Grove Elementary, the school system flipped the school bus loop so that buses would enter and exit from Crosstown Road instead of Log House Road. Now, in order to separate the bus loop from the front of the school, and to increase safety for both students and visitors entering and exiting the school, the entrance to Oak Grove has been flipped from Crosstown Road to Log House Road. The parking lot has been reconfigured to make it parallel to Log House Road, now the front entrance of the school, Berry-Dreisbach said.
New for the school year will be additional layers of security and a new app for parents to track the location of their child’s school bus.
“Safe and encouraging learning and working spaces are key for academic success for students and the educators who teach them. That is why Fayette County Public Schools is starting the 2019-2020 school year with added security measures to help prevent ill-intended situations from happening in its schools,” she said.
New school security measures
Entrances to all schools will now have security vestibules. Some schools already had them when they were built or remodeled, but those that did not have been retrofitted for them. The schools being retrofitted include all five middle schools, Whitewater High School, Starr’s Mill High School, Sandy Creek High School, North Fayette Elementary School, Huddleston Elementary School and Fayetteville Elementary School, said Berry-Dreisbach.
Vestibules are secured spaces with two or more sets of doors and an office sign-in area. Once a guest has been vetted by the outside intercom and camera system, the front doors to the school will be unlocked, allowing the guest to enter the vestibule. Once inside, guests will go through a second security check before being allowed access into the school.
In addition to providing added security of knowing who is visiting Fayette’s schools, the vestibules also serve as a single point of entrance for students who are late, or are coming from an appointment, enabling administrators to keep track of student attendance, Berry-Dreisbach noted.
Another layer of security for all schools this year is the installation of a visitor management system. Once guests are allowed entrance in to the vestibule, they will sign-in using a self-service kiosk. The kiosk will scan their driver’s licenses and conduct a quick background check. The system will print name badges for guests to wear while in the school, and will allow administrators to quickly see who is in the building at any time. The school system will use state safety grant funds to pay for the initial installation of the visitor management system and licensing software. Annual software license renewals will be funded through school budgets at a cost of less than $500 per school, Berry-Dreisbach explained.
Also new this year is an app for parents to use to track the location of a school bus in real-time.
“Giving parents peace of mind at school bus stops has been a top concern for the school system’s transportation department,” said Berry-Dreisbach.
This year the transportation department will launch the new My Stop App, available for IOS and Android devices, which will eliminate the guessing game of when the school bus will show up. The app will actually give parents the ability to look in real time to determine the location of their child’s bus, allowing them to know exactly when their children are picked up in the mornings and dropped off in the afternoons. The app is available for free download at the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. To learn more about the app and instructions on how to use it, visit https://www.fcboe.org/mystop.
A look at the school calendar for the 2019-2020 school year has the first day of school on Aug. 5 and with school ending May 22.
Schools will be closed for students during the week of Thanksgiving and from Dec. 20 through Jan. 6. Winter break will come on Feb. 17-20, followed by spring break from April 6-10.
To view the calendar visit https://www.fcboe.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=571&dataid=10104&FileName=calendar_2019-20.pdf.pdf.