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LSCO reopens to help, implements new protocols

By Dawn Burleigh

As Texas starts reopening, Lamar State College Orange is in Finals Week. After an unprecedented Spring Semester with the campus closing down and switching students to online courses, this is surely an experience non will forget anytime soon.

Finals are conducted in a virtual format for those courses which could be converted. A few programs, however, could not.

For those students majoring in EMS, pharmacy tech, welding, instrumentation, maritime, phlebotomy, basic nursing, dental assisting and CDL truck driving will return when spring labs reopen on May 11, with changes.

A college already known for smaller in person class sizes will only have nine students per class/lab.

“Our class sizes are smaller,” Presidents Dr. Thomas Johnson said. “Even online courses have a max of only 30 students and face to face courses average 17 students.”

With new regulations being put in place, two new protocols for entering a building on campus will be temperature checks and questionnaires.

A Summer mini is set to start on May 14 and Summer Courses will start on June 1.

All academic courses will be offered online, so LSCO is waiving all online fees for the summer classes.

“National research shows 25 percent of parents with students attending university are now looking at local two-year schools for two reasons, one for finances and two because of fear. They don’t want them that far from home,” Johnson said. “We are the neighborhood college. We don’t want people to miss out on college. English 1301 is cheaper and transferable.”

The college was able to reduce tuition by 25% by legislation passed before COVID-19.

“We see so many unemployed and know money is going to be tight,” Johnson said. “WE want to be here to help.”

The college will host a virtual graduation for its student.

“We are hoping to start it on May 15, May 18 at the latest,” Provost Wendy Elmore said. “The staff will be in the regalia and speeches will be given; presentations made. Instead of students walking across the stage, we will have photos of the graduates.”

Johnson laughed as he added he kept his speech short because it is about the graduates.

“Their degrees will confer with a May date, but the graduates and their families are invited to join us in August,” Elmore said.

“Seventy six percent of our students are first generation college students,” Johnson said. “I don’t want them to miss out on their first college graduation.”