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DR. BETTY REYNARD — We will come out stronger through struggle

We live in a 21st Century world where technology exists in the palms of our hands, and high-speed Internet is considered as essential as water and electricity.

So, with the arrival of COVID-19, as a society we found ourselves uniquely prepared to separate from one another temporarily without completely upending our daily lives.

Yet, a sudden transition from face-to-face interaction on campus to a virtual world of digitized faces on a computer screen didn’t happen without effort on the part of the faculty, staff and students alike at Lamar State College Port Arthur.

Even before coronavirus had become an official pandemic, LSCPA had begun taking steps toward maintaining forward momentum for the school and on behalf of its students as the Spring 2020 semester rolled along.

Let’s be clear, though.

The seemingly sudden switch from face-to-face classes to an online modality did not happen instantaneously, nor was it easy.

The faculty and staff at LSCPA embraced this challenge, launching into hours of training in order to make substantial changes to coursework delivery.

Faculty changed their syllabi, learned how to adapt their classroom teaching to a virtual experience and learned how to use videoconferencing software.

During the extended spring break for students, many staff members established home offices to ensure students still have access to financial aid, registration for summer and fall classes, as well as other critical services.

Many of our staff still venture to campus during the week to get the job done as we conclude the spring session and prepare for the classes coming in the summer and fall.

Our staff at Gates Memorial Library ensured services continue to be available, and our information technology department scrambled to find laptops and other technology needed by faculty and students to make sure both groups were successful in this transition.

Students at LSCPA especially deserve credit for the way they’ve adapted and embraced this new “normal” for taking college classes.

They understand how important it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other as they pursue their degrees and certificates.

Today is an investment in the future. We are proud to say our students are determined to make their tomorrows better through education.

We certainly will return to face-to-face classes as soon as it is safe to do so. We will shake hands, hug our friends and sit together in classrooms and the cafeteria as our world returns to normal.

But in the meantime, we can congratulate ourselves in knowing that no matter the challenge, whether it be a hurricane, flood or worldwide pandemic, we not only survive, but thrive, together.

We will live through the spring of 2020 and we will surely come out the other side stronger and smarter.

Dr. Betty Reynard is president of Lamar State College Port Arthur. She can be reached at reynardbj@lamarpa.edu.