Lufkin ISD approves vaccination incentives and 10 days COVID-19 relief for staff

Lufkin ISD board members decided to implement some changes for the new year.
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 11:28 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - As Lufkin Independent School District tries their best to navigate a school year during the pandemic, board members thought it was necessary to implement some changes. One approval addressed at the meeting was the permission to give all employees 10 days of COVID-19 relief. These days can be used if an the employee or someone in their household tests positive for the virus.

“None of us anticipated that we’d be dealing with the delta variant, and so what was happening was our staff was forced to take their personal days, so thankfully the board provided us some relief today,” Spikes said.

These 10 days are retroactive and can be reinstated if staff used personal days earlier this year due to COVID. The board said they will reevaluate this decision in December. The board also approved a $500 incentive for the employees that choose to get vaccinated.

“We believe that getting our folks vaccinated is perhaps one of the greatest weapons against the spread, as I mentioned, with this delta variant. So if we know that to be the case, then why not put things in place to incentivize as many people as possible to get vaccinated,” Spikes said.

The board said they believe that the decision to get vaccinated is a private matter and that this employees decision will remain anonymous.

“So we know that this can be political and all those kinds of things, but we want to reward those folks who get vaccinated; and those who choose not to, it’s their individual right if they choose not to do so, and we do not want to shame anyone,” Spikes said.

And the board said they will not implement a mask mandate.

“At this time we’re abiding by the governor’s executive order which doesn’t allow us to mandate masks in schools at this point,” Spikes said.

Just six days ago, we learned the district superintendent had been considering a mask mandate. This as the matter was challenged by other school districts in Texas and was taken to the Supreme Court.

Lufkin Independent School District also approved a new tax rate which includes a 5.2 percent decrease for taxpayers. A budget for the 2021-22 school year was approved as well which will include a 2 percent pay increase for every Lufkin ISD employee.

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