FCPS shares important updates on services for students & families
The past several months have been difficult for children and families, who are dealing not only with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but also the compounded effect of generational injustice. Illness, recurring images of racial violence, poverty, food insecurity, acts of hate, civil unrest, and uncertainty have multiplied adverse childhood experiences and magnified existing trauma.
Whether students are learning through Non-Traditional Instruction or the FCPS Virtual Learning Academy, the district’s mental health professionals, school social workers, school counselors, child guidance specialists, and school psychologists are available to provide direct services related to academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. Families may call their child’s school during school hours or the main FCPS line at (859) 381-4100 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Or they may submit a request for social/emotional services, and a professional from Student Support Services will respond. In addition, the district offers Emotional Support & Self-Care Resources: the Virtual Center for Resilience.
Family Resource and Youth Service Centers remain open and available to help families facing food insecurity, housing instability, or other basic needs. For help, call the Family Resource and Youth Service Center at your child’s school during school hours or call the school district at (859) 381-4100 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays and ask for the Student Support Services Department. Families also may submit a request for basic needs.
From March through the summer, FCPS cafeterias provided expanded meal services for children and families made possible by a national waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under those guidelines, Child Nutrition employees served 588,753 meals in 4½ months. Unfortunately, the federal government will not extend the waiver, which will reduce the number of children FCPS can serve. This fall, meal distribution will be similar to the restrictions in place when children are physically in school. This means:
- Only students currently enrolled in Fayette County Public Schools may receive meals. (Previously, the district could feed any child under the age of 18.)
- Meals must run through students’ school meal accounts. Qualifying students will receive free meals; others will have to pay. (Previously, meals were free for all.)
- Food can only be distributed for school days. (Previously, FCPS distributed meals for seven days each week.)
Despite these changes, FCPS is committed to serving as many children as possible. In an effort to reach more families, breakfast and lunch will be available at 47 school pick-up locations on Mondays and Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. This is an increase over the 21 school sites previously open and an expansion of the distribution windows. On Mondays, FCPS will distribute two breakfasts and two lunches. On Wednesdays, the district will distribute three breakfasts and three lunches.
When families arrive to pick up meals, staff will help them access their children’s accounts. Meals for any FCPS student can be picked up at any location, regardless of where children are enrolled. Children do not need not be present. FCPS will continue to look for ways to enhance these services, and after the school year is underway, the district has plans to add hot meals on pickup days and open distribution sites at convenient neighborhood locations.
Fayette County Public Schools has invested $6.5 million to go fully 1-to-1 throughout the school district and provide each student with a mobile device. At this time, the district has roughly 35,000 Chromebooks on hand for the more than 43,000 students.
In July, FCPS ordered another 12,000 devices, but because of a nationwide shortage at the manufacturing level, the devices were not here in time for the start of classes. The district should receive 3,000 additional Chromebooks in late August; remaining devices are scheduled to arrive in early October.
Until the entire order is filled, FCPS is placing a priority on putting Chromebooks in the hands of students who would not otherwise have access to a computer at home. Once all shipments are complete, staff will be able to distribute additional devices so that every student has a district-issued Chromebook and replace older devices with newer ones.
Chromebooks are still available, and staff are working to move devices from schools with surplus inventory to meet student needs at other schools. Families of students enrolled in the FCPS Virtual Learning Academy will receive additional information about picking up Chromebooks this week.
Students will not be penalized for not having a computer, and teachers will work with families individually to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in learning. If your child needs a Chromebook, please call their school.
FCPS continues to offer hotspots to families without internet access at home in order to allow every student to access the digital resources that are critical to helping each student achieve during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hotspots are distributed through the Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, and each hotspot can support multiple students in a family. If your family does not have internet access at home, please call the child’s school.
Technology Help Desk
Students and families can get assistance with Chromebooks and other technology issues by calling the Student Tech Support line at (859) 381-4410 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays.
(Posted Aug. 24, 2020)