Campus & Community

PBSC gets back on track after Hurricane Irma

Palm Beach State College reopened for classes and business Sept. 18 with a plan for students to make up the nine instructional days lost because of Hurricane Irma.

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Facilities staff help clean up debris following the storm.

College leaders have cancelled the faculty and staff Development Day scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25. That day will become a makeup day for students taking Thursday or Tuesday/Thursday classes.  Final Exam Week, during which time students only take their final exams, will now become an instructional week. There also are plans for students who take Friday only classes to spend extra time in each session to make up the missed time.

“We are following the requirements of our accrediting agency to ensure the integrity of the credits awarded to students,’’ said Dr. Roger Yohe, vice president for academic affairs. “Despite the setback the storm caused, we want our students to still receive as much time for instruction as possible.”

The College developed a list of FAQs to help address concerns about missed assignments and other PBSC affairs. Disaster relief information was also provided for those who may have bee impacted by the storm. New Student Orientation Sessions were rescheduled for students enrolled in the 12-week session, which also began Sept. 18. Plans are underway to reschedule other activities.

Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm before pounding Florida and other parts of the Southeast. PBSC closed on Sept. 7 to give students and employees time to prepare or evacuate in advance of the storm. While the College lost instructional time, damage to the College’s five campuses was not as severe as College leaders initially feared based on early forecasts about the storm’s path.

“There was no structural damage,’’ said Richard Becker, vice president of administration and business services. He noted power outages on the campuses, downed trees, broken tree limbs and branches, as well as damage to signs, including a digital sign and some water intrusion. “Overall, the College fared well, relatively speaking and compared to some of the other colleges south and west of us.”

Facilities and security staff worked while the College was closed to get the campuses ready to open. “We appreciate the efforts of everybody who came in when the College was closed to do the job that we needed them to do,’’ Becker said.

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