The Lufkin ISD School Board decided at the monthly July board meeting this evening to delay the beginning of school to Aug. 24.

Board President Scott Skelton said, “This is a fluid situation, and we will continue to listen daily to medical professions and data.”

Board member Kristi Gay said she had spoken to medical professionals since the board’s work session Tuesday and was concerned.

Mrs. Gay said, “There are 55 people in our hospitals (with COVID) and 13 people on a vent, and I know that the Angelina County Health District said there are 101 cases in Angelina County today. I’m concerned about it. I want to verify that if we settle on this calendar right now, it will be flexible.”

Superintendent Lynn Torres assured the board members that they — not the state — were in charge of the calendar.

She said, “We have the power to make adjustments to that if we have new information. We have the ability to go completely virtual if we need to. Having a date solidifies when teachers come back to work. We completely have the option to roll out something virtual. The dates are safe because we have other options to go completely online.”

The board discussed that TEA will institute the ADA hold harmless for the first 12 weeks of school.

Mrs. Torres said, “My feeling is we maybe stay with the date but change the method of delivery. We’ll be monitoring the signups for the Lufkin Virtual Learning Academy that will go live tomorrow on our website because we need time to plan. We passed out teacher expectations today. A date helps us to get teachers back in the building and preparing and training.”

The board unanimously passed the decision to delay school.