LHS teacher: COVID-19 has ‘affected every single part of my life’

Samantha Saenz, Lufkin High School Student Media

Lufkin High School technology teacher Robyn Segrest adjusts her mask in her classroom. (Photo by LUIS IBARRA/Lufkin High School Student Media)

Lufkin High School put in new regulations this school year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Based on guidance from the Texas Education Agency, the high school is offering virtual learning and is requiring in-person students to wear a mask and try to keep a certain distance from one another.

Technology teacher Robyn Segrest said she was glad to be back at school, but that COVID-19 has had a big impact this year.

“It’s affected every single part of my life,” she said. “In terms of being afraid of the virus, not so much. Worrying about the people I love that I know that have health issues … that concerns me.”

Segrest said one of her former LHS students — one of her first students — died a few weeks ago from complications caused by COVID-19.

“So in terms of personal impact, it’s changed everything I do,” she said. “I mean, between concern for the people I love and then adhering to all the guidelines that we’re given, there’s not a single part of my life that has not been impacted.”

The new guidelines at LHS give students the option to do schoolwork remotely or to attend classes on campus.

In-school learners have to take precautions so that an outbreak won’t occur. The precautions include every student and staff member having to wear a mask for the entire school day, along with social distancing.

“Oh, those are tough,” Segrest said of the new rules. “Those are really hard. I understand that we’re trying to protect everybody, but it’s also very frustrating. It’s frustrating because I want to be able to see your faces. I want my students to know when I’m smiling, and when we’re together I want everybody to appreciate that.

“I personally read people’s facial expressions to see how they’re feeling and what they’re doing and that kind of thing, and I can’t do that. I’m having to learn different ways to do that.”

Segrest said it’s also hard to talk through her mask, because she’s a soft-spoken person, and that it can be hard to hear other people when they try to talk through their masks.