Lynchburg City Schools gears up for new year, focusing on staffing vacancies, safety

LCS students will head back into the classrooms on August 16

The district is offering hiring incentives, including hiring bonuses

LYNCHBURG, Va.Lynchburg City Schools students will head back into the classrooms on August 16.

As excited as LCS leaders are for the new academic year, they admit they’re facing the same reality as divisions across the country.

“We are looking for math, science, and special education [teachers]. Those are critical-need positions in our district,” said Superintendent Dr. Crystal Edwards.

Edwards said they’re offering incentives including hiring bonuses.

The transportation department at LCS said they need more drivers, but they’re better staffed than this time last year. The department is also offering help with CDL training.

On Wednesday, LCS did not provide statistics regarding the number of vacancies or new hires, but Edwards said they’re seeing a high acceptance rate.

“We do have substitutes available should we have to start without a teacher, but we are doing everything possible to make sure that all of our classrooms and all of our positions are filled,” said Edwards.

Safety is also a priority for the leaders at LCS – While they could not reveal all of their tactics, they said resource officers will be assigned to the five middle and high schools and will assist elementary schools whenever needed.

LCS is also partnering with local law enforcement to review better strategies, employees are undergoing training, and every visitor must check in with a school’s front office when they arrive.

“We love when you come to [visit] the schools, but please do not think of us as being rude if we don’t hold the door open for you,” said Edwards.

When it comes to dealing with COVID-19, Edwards said that wearing masks, social distancing, and hand washing is still encouraged.

LCS will still notify parents of positive cases, and weekly COVID-19 testing will also be available.

“We also work with the local health department in terms of vaccinations and clinics, and we encourage anyone who can to get their vaccinations and get their boosters,” said Edwards.

LCS officials said some employees who helped with COVID-19 contact tracing in the past will now focus on helping to provide mental health resources.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.