HENDERSON, Texas (KLTV) - A lot of eyes are on Henderson Independent School District, which will start in-person classes on Wednesday. It will be the first East Texas district to do so since the pandemic forced schools to close in march.
“With the support and encouragement from many in the community and our family, it was easy for me to make the decision to start,” said Dr. Thurston Lamb, the superintendent of Henderson ISD.
The decision to start two weeks early that is.
“Many of our parents were concerned about the impact remote learning was having on the students, so I received correspondence from I can’t tell you how many parents wanting us to open our schools,” said Lamb. “And I received like correspondence from our teachers.”
Since parents and teachers wanted to come back early, Lamb and the school board made the decision to do so, as long as safety precautions were put in place.
“All students are required to wear a mask, all faculty and staff are required to wear a mask. We’ve invested in quite a bit of sanitizer, so we’ll have hand sanitizing stations all over campuses,” said Lamb. “We’re increasing our cleaning protocols and disinfecting and we’re doing like things for transportation.”
Students will be eating breakfast in their classrooms and all students will have their temperatures taken as soon as they get to campus. But lamb says he knows the school’s plan can change quickly.
“Because this virus is a novel virus and it’s a fluid situation, I’ve tried to encourage everyone to understand the need to be flexible and adaptable,” said Lamb. “This is our plan, this is what we’ll start with but there’s a possibility this plan will change at any given moment once we start school.”
Lamb said the district has a flow chart plan in place to help plan for positive COVID-19 cases in terms of quarantine requirements and tracking any close contact.
“We’re really looking forward to all the kids coming back, we’re excited, we cant wait to see you in our buildings tomorrow so we can love on you and nurture you,” said Lamb in his message to returning students. “[We want to] be the givers of hope and encourage our kids because we do believe — in the current state of many things going on in this country — that our kids need to feel the love; to be able to enjoy coming to school again and be in an environment where they are being nurtured and address some of the emotional and social concerns they have.”
With social distancing being difficult on a bus, the district is asking parents to bring students to school by car if possible and students are also encouraged to bring their own mask. If they don’t have one, the school is prepared with extra masks.