Newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton said, “Even though things are constantly changing, we’re moving ahead with our planning for the fall, so we’re prepared for whatever circumstances come our way.” The District recently published a survey seeking feedback from the community about the response Lumberton ISD had to the closures in the spring. This information will be used to help improve those methods in case of additional schedule disruptions this school year. School Board President James Kersh added, “The goal is to use all the preventive measures we have available to prevent or minimize the impact of Covid-19. However, we all must realize that every district in the state will deal with this issue in some way and will have members of the community affected. Issuing Lumberton ISD’s response effort in advance lets our community know our plans to address it if the time comes where we have a positive case within our district.”
Tipton has formed a Task Force consisting of employees from across the District addressing several possible scenarios for the fall. The groups are planning, while placing the health and safety of students and staff as the top priority. “Our hope is that we can have a regular opening in the fall and that’s how we’re proceeding as of today.” The first day of school is still slated for August 11, 2020 reported Tipton.
Plans are being made to address several safety and logistic changes for a normal school opening. These changes include enhanced sanitizing of buildings, possible limitations for campus visitors, health screenings, one-way hallways, planning for large shared spaces like cafeterias and gyms, protocols in case of a positive COVID diagnosis, plus many more. Tipton added, “When we open in the fall, we will make every effort to protect our students and staff while still trying to maintain as much normalcy as possible.”
Board President James Kersh believes that “information is key in these types of situations. We have been taking guidance from state and meeting with local officials to address the situation before us for months now to enact the best plan we can to open school as normal as we can and as close to our schedule as possible. Our board fully supports Dr. Tipton and his team’s efforts to take all of that information and apply it through a task force to keep Lumberton safe and informed.”
The Texas Education Agency has recently outlined rules for the at-home learning experience for students. Lumberton ISD is establishing home-learning plans in case a student is quarantined or parents choose to keep students home for health reasons. Superintendent Tipton added, “We want to assure our parents that we’re planning for several eventualities, but there could be new scenarios we haven’t even considered in this fluid situation. The bottom line is that we will make decisions based on the best interest of our kids with the latest guidance provided to the district.”
District officials are working with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the University Interscholastic League (UIL), as well as local and county public health officials. In many cases these agencies guide the work of the District and provide a framework for decisions. The District will continue to monitor correspondence from these agencies and keep the community updated as more information becomes available. The latest information and updates will be available on the District’s website at www.lumberton.k12.tx.us or on our social media pages. The District expects several more rounds of COVID-related information to be released during the rest of the summer.