With Covid-19 numbers still going down, the Fayette County School System plans to move out of its pandemic operational pattern and transition back to more or less normal operations, according to a letter sent to principals Feb. 11.
The plan to get back to normal was scheduled to be presented to the Fayette County Board of Education at its Monday, Feb. 21 meeting. Endemic refers to a disease that “is continually present in an area and affects a relatively small number of people,” according to a dictionary definition.
Part of that plan to is get rid of most Covid signage and put up a new sign at every school: “Welcome — Face coverings highly recommended” with a graphic of a face mask. That letter is below.
Also, the school board was to hear a report of continued falling enrollment. The system’s new normal is below 20,000 students this year, and is projected to fall again for the upcoming 2023 school year.
The system is reporting 19,723 students for this year, with 194 of them being taught remotely. For the upcoming year, the system expects 19,656 students. This year’s staff numbers around 897, and next year’s staff level will be 904, nearly the same as this year.
The system’s pupil-teacher ratio is 18.76 this year and is expected to drop to 18.03 next year, meaning a very slight nudge toward fewer students per classroom teacher.
The board also was to hear a report on the system’s Career and Technical Education programs.
Below is the letter sent to principals about the Covid transition plan.
Covid Operational Protocols
February 11, 2022
With the decline of positive Covid-19 cases in our schools and community, we are making the following adjustments to our operational protocols effective Thursday, February 24, 2022.
Face coverings are highly recommended, but not required, for students, staff and visitors.
Face-to-Face seating is permissible.
Visitors are allowed in schools.
Visitors are allowed to eat lunch with their student(s), if there is room, at the principal’s discretion.
Extracurricular guidance remains the same as the first semester.
Encourage hand sanitizing/hand washing after recess/outdoors, before and after eating, following restroom breaks, and before and after using shared supplies.
Distance 3 feet or more where feasible/arrange desks as far apart as possible.
Discuss with ES/MS-HS Director (note – will be severely limited due to potential Bus Driver shortage).
Distance 3 feet or more when feasible.
Parent/teacher conferences should be conducted in-person. When an in-person meeting is not possible (i.e. cannot leave work on time, illness, no transportation, or other hardship), a Zoom meeting can be offered as an alternative.
Encourage in-person school/community events (i.e. PTO/PTSO meetings, performances, school council meetings, etc.).
Sanitize shared materials between usage.
Daily sanitize high traffic and commonly used spaces throughout the instructional day, including door handles, chairs, tabletops, restrooms, large group transition areas, and cafeteria between meals.
Electrostatic spraying as needed.
Remove all Covid-19 signage currently posted.
Replace old signage with signage that is being provided.
Remove all plexiglass partitions.
Daily Covid-19 cases will be reported on the FCBOE website under Quick Links. Reporting will be cumulative that builds to the weekly numbers.
Weekly cases will continue to be reported via social media platforms.
Letters regarding Covid-19 cases in the school will be distributed following the same guidelines as with other communicable diseases.