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Fayette school system plans to ‘go from pandemic to endemic operation’ this week

New entrance sign for all Fayette schools from February 24th. Graphic/Fayette County School System.

With Covid-19 numbers still declining, the Fayette County school system plans to exit its pandemic operating pattern and return to more-or-less normal operations, according to a letter sent to principals Feb. 11.

The return to normal plan was to be presented to the Fayette County School Board at its meeting on Monday, February 21. Endemic refers to a disease that “is continuously present in an area and affects a relatively small number of people”, according to one dictionary definition.

Part of that plan is to get rid of most of the Covid signs and put up a new sign in every school: “Welcome – Face covering strongly recommended” with a graphic of a face mask. This letter is below.

In addition, the school board was to hear a report of a continued decline in enrolment. The new standard for the system is below 20,000 students this year and is expected to drop further for the next school year 2023.

The system reports 19,723 students for this year, 194 of whom are in distance learning. For the coming year, the system expects 19,656 students. The number of employees this year is about 897 people, and next year the number of employees will be 904, almost the same as this year.

The system’s student-teacher ratio is 18.76 this year and is expected to drop to 18.03 next year, meaning a very slight nudge towards fewer students per teacher.

The board was also scheduled to hear a report on the system’s vocational and technical training programs.

Below is the letter sent to school principals regarding the Covid transition plan.

Covid operational protocols

February 11, 2022

Main:

With the decline in 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 covering

Face coverings are strongly recommended, but not required, for students, staff and visitors.

Lunch

Face-to-face seating is permitted.

Visitors/Volunteers

Visitors are allowed in schools.

Visitors are allowed to have lunch with their student(s), if there is space, at the discretion of the Director.

The extracurricular orientation remains the same as in the first semester.

Hygiene

Encourage hand sanitizing/washing after recess/outdoors, before and after meals, after bathroom breaks, and before and after using shared supplies.

Classroom

Distance of 3 feet or more if possible/arrange desks as far apart as possible.

Excursions

Discuss with ES/MS-HS Director (note – will be severely limited due to potential shortage of bus drivers).

Meetings

Distance of 3 feet or more when possible.

Parent/teacher meetings must be conducted in person. When an in-person meeting is not possible (i.e. cannot leave work on time, illness, no transportation or other difficulty), a Zoom meeting may be offered as an alternative.

Encourage in-person school/community events (i.e. PTO/PTSO meetings, shows, school council meetings, etc.).

Sanitation

Disinfect shared materials between uses.

Disinfect high-traffic and commonly used spaces daily throughout the instructional day, including doorknobs, chairs, tabletops, restrooms, transition areas for large groups, and the cafeteria between classes. meal.

Electrostatic spray as needed.

Signaling

Remove all currently posted Covid-19 signage.

Replace old signage with provided signage.

Remove all plexiglass partitions.

Reports

Daily Covid-19 cases will be reported on the FCBOE website under Quick Links. The reports will be cumulative and add to the weekly figures.

Weekly cases will continue to be reported through social media platforms.

Letters regarding Covid-19 cases in the school will be distributed following the same guidelines as for other communicable diseases.

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