A student walks through the spaces in front of Morris Combs Hall, Aug. 29.

A student walks through the spaces in front of Morris Combs Hall, Aug. 29.

Lamar University’s finals schedule has been affected due to Hurricane Harvey. Classes will now run through Dec. 12 and finals will be held in class.

“To begin with, our goal is to complete the fall semester on time,” Kevin Smith, senior associate provost, said. “What we have decided to do is to take finals week and turn it into instructional time which kind of gives us an extra week due to the tropical storm.

“We will then have our instructors give final exams on the last regular class meeting date, whatever that might be. If the final exam takes longer than the time allotted, they may take the last two class meetings to do so. But we’re not going to carve out a week for final examinations as we traditionally do.”

The commencement date, Dec. 15 and 16, and the Thanksgiving break will remain the same.

Smith said he expects most students will have begun classes at the scheduled beginning date.

“Most students, most people, want to return to some sort of normalcy, which for students is going on with their education,” he said. “I expect most students to be here, most classes started last week, but I expect that most of our students and most of our employees will be here.”

Smith said he understands there will be students who will not make it and said accommodations have been made for those students.

“First thing we have done, is we have extended late registration through close of business Friday, and we have done so without a late registration fee,” he said. “The second thing we have done, is we have added two sessions called ‘Harvey Sessions’ online. These are for students who are in such a disrupted state that they (couldn’t) begin their face-to-face classes Monday or their online classes (Sept. 5).”

The two five-week online course will be offered beginning Sept. 20 and Nov. 1.

“Perhaps a student can come out today but has to meet an adjustor tomorrow, or has to tear out sheetrock the next day, or has to assist a relative — I think most of our faculty are in the same situation and they will be far more accommodating this fall than they might otherwise be without the storm,” he said.

Despite the effects of Harvey, Smith said he does not think student enrollment will suffer as much as some may think.

“We lost a bunch of students with Hurricane Rita, but Hurricane Rita was a different kind of storm because we had the winds with it,” he said. “With the flooding situation, most people did not lose power, some did, but a lot of people did not. A few structures were leveled by hurricane winds as a result of this, but I don’t think it will be nearly as extreme as what we saw after Rita.”

Smith said the school will know exactly how enrollment has been affected on class census day.

“Looking at our preliminary numbers from our last class day, Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day, which was really our first class day online as far as the University’s records are concerned, we were essentially where we were a year ago,” he said. “We didn’t see a major decline in enrollment. Right now we’re at 15,000 students, which is where we were a year ago — good momentum and I expect it to continue.”

Lamar will report the number of credit hours enrolled and the number of students enrolled to the state of Texas on Oct. 2. Smith says the numbers will be available Oct. 3 and will be compared to those of fall 2016.

This story was updated to correct the end date for classes. The story originally indicated classes end Dec. 22.

Shelby Strickland, UP managing editor

A pair of Lamar students built a makeshift boat during Hurricane Harvey's rain outside Morris Hall, Aug. 29.

A pair of Lamar students built a makeshift boat during Hurricane Harvey’s rain outside Morris Hall, Aug. 29.

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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