Superintendent, Lynn Torres

These are uncertain times. With all of the uncertainties, I wanted to let our parents, staff and community know what they can be certain of this school year.

All can be certain that our teachers are prepared to educate students. Whether your child stays home and takes advantage of our virtual learning or comes to school with in-person learning, our teachers are up to the challenge of making the necessary changes to educate all of our students.

Lufkin ISD remains committed to monitoring student learning and progress, both of which are integral to student success. In-person learning will occur on campus, face-to-face. Students will attend school daily, just as they would during a regular school year. Students will follow all safety, sanitation and social distancing expectations as mandated by the governor, CDC and local health authorities.

The Lufkin Virtual Learning Academy is a remote/virtual home-learning model using a variety of teaching formats. Instruction will include: face-to-face real time lessons; pre-recorded videos; teacher conferencing; independent work; the same curriculum, attendance, assessment and grading guidelines as in-person learning; a schedule that mirrors the in-person instructional schedule.

Our teachers, instructional coaches, principals and administration are working diligently together to ensure an education for each child that will help them to be successful. Parents will soon commit to either one of these methods of instruction.

All can be certain that our Transportation Department will do everything they can to create a safe and clean environment for our bus riders. Students who ride the bus will need to wear masks and use hand sanitizer while entering the bus. All buses will be thoroughly cleaned after each route and all TEA guidelines for transporting students will be followed by our staff and bus drivers.

Our goal is to keep kids safe and healthy as we transport students to and from school on our buses. This year, parents will register their children by calling 634-6516 beginning Wednesday through Aug. 10 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

All can be certain that our Student Nutrition Services Department will prepare healthy meals in an efficient and safe way for our students to enjoy. There will be new guidelines in place for our cafeterias and serving lines which might include prepackaged meals to avoid the “buffet” type of serving line. We might also have breakfast and/or lunch in the classrooms which can easily be accomplished in the primary and elementary setting. We are conversing weekly with the Texas Department of Agriculture and will follow all necessary protocols to keep our students safe.

All can be certain that our custodial team will be trained in protocols to minimize cross-contamination and will follow new cleaning guidelines to sanitize our campuses every day. We have received a large shipment of PPE equipment and supplies from the state to add to the equipment the district has already purchased. Several items in the supplies from the state have been backordered and will arrive soon.

All can be certain that our maintenance department has worked all summer to prepare our schools and classrooms for the start of school. To keep our students and staff safe, air filters called Global Plasma Solutions Bipolar Ionization Systems have been installed on all of the air-conditioning units throughout the district — a total of 460 units. These filters are similar to the units now being used by airlines and hospitals. The units filter the air at a much higher level and clean and kill pathogens in the air.

In addition to killing pathogens, the system also reduces particles, which act as a transport mechanism for virus and bacteria. The GPS System is designed to reach down into the space and kill pathogens at the source before they can infect healthy occupants.

I am certain that I will work to ensure that students, parents and staff are well informed and all can be assured that our efforts are targeted toward what is best for students and their education. Will the 2020-21 school year be normal? No, unfortunately not, but Lufkin ISD stands ready to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of your students.