Lamar State, Bob Hope, Tekoa, St. Catherine talk school decisions this week

Published 3:38 pm Monday, August 24, 2020

One of Bob Hope School’s three campuses was expected to start school on Monday.

Due to the two current storms in the Gulf of Mexico, the charter school is now delaying the remote start by one week for all locations.

Bob Hope Elementary School will now start on Aug. 31. The middle school will be postponed from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8.

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Bob Hope High School will also start on Sept. 8.

Chief Executive Officer Bobby Lopez said it was the right move.

“I know that our community has experienced a lot of hardships, so just keeping an eye on where the projected landfall is coming in, I thought it was important to push back the start date,” he said. “Pushing it back three or four days is not going to hurt us that much. It’s important to keep our families’ best interests in mind so it wasn’t a very difficult decision.”

All other campus events including Chromebook pickups, athletics, meal service and other activities are also postponed until further notice.

Lopez said the only Chromebooks left to deliver were for the high school. Pickup will be rescheduled for next week.

Bob Hope’s first three weeks of school will start remotely with an asynchronous model.

Tekoa Academy of Accelerated Studies’ first day of school is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Students in third-12th grades will begin the first nine weeks with virtual instruction, while children enrolled from prekindergarten to second grade will have the option of face-to-face classes.

The STEM School will continue to monitor weather changes, but is not expecting plans to change.

As the only local private school that started last week, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School, which started in-person instruction, announced the school’s closure for the remainder of the week.

Principal Renee Tolin said the decision was passed down from the superintendent of schools after a meeting Monday morning with the new bishop.

“Everyone, especially in our area, wants to be prepared and give our families enough time to evacuate if they want to,” she said. “No one wants to get caught in another Harvey.”

St. Catherine’s felt the full effects of Hurricane Harvey three years ago when the building received several inches of water.

The school just finished installation of new carpeting and flooring a week before school started.

“I don’t know what to be worried about right now,” Tolin said. “I’m worried about our brand new carpet and floors. I’ve instructed all of our teachers to pick everything up off the ground and out of the way, but we are praying and hoping all of this is just a precaution.”

Tolin said teachers are prepared to continue teaching remotely should the closure continue beyond this week.

“This is one of the good things about having practice with remote instruction. We are prepared to do it now if we need to,” she said.

Lamar State College Port Arthur will close its campus starting today (Aug. 25) to allow students and the community to prepare for the impact of tropical storms Marco and Laura, which will affect the area in the coming days.

The campus will reopen when threats to the community no longer exist.

Students, faculty and staff should monitor their email, the college’s website and social media accounts for regular updates.

Registration for the Fall 2020 semester will continue when the campus reopens.

Although all face-to-face classes are canceled starting Aug. 25, online classes will continue to meet as long as conditions allow.

Hurricane Marco is expected to have minor impacts to campus this evening with an increased chance of wind and rain.

Tropical Storm Laura is predicted to arrive on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning as a hurricane near the Texas-Louisiana border.