After delays, area districts and colleges get ready to welcome students

Teachers, students and parents are awaiting some sort of normalcy in their lives, which includes the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Beaumont Independent School District has a tentative goal of beginning school Monday, Sept. 11, but will host an emergency meeting Friday, Sept. 8, at the Administration Building (3395 Harrison Ave) at noon to make a final decision.

The Board of Managers will discuss the immediate needs associated with Hurricane Harvey and recovery plus adopt a resolution granting authority to the superintendent to enter into contracts for replacement or repair of equipment or school facilities.

Over in Sour Lake, Hardin-Jefferson ISD sustained a lot of damage to at least one campus and several buildings, and as of Sept. 6, had not announced a firm start date. Sour Lake Elementary has damage to the gym but China Elementary survived the storm with very minimal damage.

Hardin-Jefferson High School did not receive damage from the storm.

Of all campuses, Henderson Middle School received the most extensive damage in the district with 2 feet of water throughout the building.

Waiting to start school until after making extensive repairs in a middle school facility that large would leave students out of school for far too long. After much deliberation, the school board and administrative staff have come to the consensus that Henderson Middle School students will be split between Sour Lake Elementary, China Elementary and Hardin-Jefferson High School on a temporary basis until a modular building campus is up and running.

Hardin-Jefferson anticipates using the split middle school plan for approximately six weeks until the middle school can reunite in one location.

Hardin-Jefferson ISD was approved to serve free breakfast and lunches to all students through Sept. 30. After that, if a family is displaced and is qualified through the district’s homeless liaison, they can qualify them for free meals for the rest of the year.

Their target student start back date is Tuesday, Sept. 19, while faculty and staff will return to campus on Monday, Sept. 18. Additional details will follow in the days/weeks ahead, but here is the structure of the start back plan:

• Sixth grade students who reside in Hardin County will go to Sour Lake Elementary from 7:55 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. Students who reside in Jefferson County will go to China Elementary from 7:55 a.m. – 3:25 p.m.

• Seventh and eighth graders will all go to Hardin-Jefferson High School from 7:55 a.m. – 3:10 p.m. Once they eat breakfast, they will report to the gym.

Parent pick-up for HMS will be lined up outside the high school gym on the right-hand side. Buses for HJHS and HMS will be serviced from the HJHS bus loop.

Orangefield and Deweyville have yet to announce any start dates. Sabine Pass ISD is closed through Sept. 8, and a decision will be made then. 

Colleges

Lamar University online classes have already begun and students are to return to campus for classes Monday, Sept. 11.

Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) has also announced the start of the fall 2017 semester for Monday, Sept. 11.

Lamar State College Port Arthur has extended registration deadlines to the first day of class, which is Monday, Sept. 11.

Lamar State College-Orange campus offices will reopen Wednesday, Sept. 13, and fall classes will start Monday, Sept. 18.

In order for the fall semester to finish on schedule in December, five minutes will be added to each class, and online hybrid classes will be used to supplement coursework.

LSC-O faculty and staff will work with all students and whatever needs they have in order for everyone to have a successful semester.

Because of water damage to the Wilson Building, offices and classes there will be relocated during the remediation process.

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