Based on Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-34 effective March 10, 2021, relating to the opening of Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster, Howard College is seeking policy guidance from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Until further notice, Howard College will continue to follow the current Open Howard College plan regarding mask and capacity requirements. Faculty, staff, students, and community members will be notified if changes and/or updates to the policy are made.
Howard College Official Updates
Classes will begin on Monday, August 17, 2020! It is very important for students to log into their Blackboard to get information and details from their instructors prior to August 17th. The San Angelo, Lamesa and SWCD campuses will have face to face classes as shown on the current course schedule. Courses on the Big Spring campus will begin in a virtual mode with a few exceptions (health professions courses, some CTE skill development courses, and LEADS).
Health and safety is our top priority! Please self-screen prior to coming to campus! Masks are required, temperature screening kiosks and sanitation stations are available across all campuses and we strongly encourage social distancing and hand washing.
We’re ready…are you? It’s time to fly!!
With the health and safety of students as the main priority for the upcoming academic year, Howard College has made some changes to their Fall 2020 semester regarding face to face classes on the Big Spring campus.
All classes will still begin on August 17, 2020 and will conclude with final exams November 20-24. With few exceptions, the face to face courses on the schedule will begin in a virtual/remote mode, mostly through Zoom. Online courses will continue as scheduled with no changes. All courses on the college’s San Angelo and Lamesa campuses will continue as currently scheduled with no changes to face to face courses.
Exceptions to the virtual course status are some health profession courses, some career technical education courses, and the first-year experience LEADS courses. Information regarding instruction mode for each class will be shared with students through Blackboard, the college’s learning management system.
“We are so ready to have students on campus and are putting many preventative measures into place to keep them as healthy and safe as possible,” said Dr. Cheryl Sparks, Howard College President. “But with the upturn in COVID-19 cases all across our state and having students living on this campus, we felt like we should start the semester in a virtual mode rather than face to face to give us time to make sure our protocols are effective and we can help keep students in socially distant environments.”
Additionally, campus leaders have modified the dorm check-in process to stagger groups of students over several weeks to allow for student education regarding COVID-19 policies and procedures and to monitor the effectiveness of the plan as more students come to campus.
Students will be checking into the dorms beginning August 14th and the staggered move-in will continue through September 13th. Students who plan to live on campus must schedule a check-in date/time according to pre-designated groups. All students who have been accepted into the dorms are receiving separate communication regarding their group dates and how to schedule a check-in time.
Administrators are working with school districts across the service area to resolve any issues with dual credit schedules and the college’s health professions programs will be communicating directly with students regarding any additional changes to their schedules.
“With state and federal responses to COVID-19 changing daily, we are working diligently to make sure our processes are following guidelines established for higher education institutions,” Sparks added. “We know the semester may look a little different than we originally planned for the Big Spring campus, but we are looking forward to seeing students and tackling the semester with excitement.”
For students in face to face settings in any building on campus, face masks will be required, and students will regularly be reminded about maintaining social distances whenever possible.
All student support services, such as the library, tutoring center, advising, etc. will be available in a multitude of formats, including virtual, online and face to face.
“We want to assure our students and families that we are doing everything possible to keep students safe and healthy,” said Sparks. “Even in these times of uncertainty, our faculty and staff are ready to help our students focus on turning their dreams into reality.”
Howard College has made some recent changes to the Fall 2020 semester academic calendar which includes a change in the start and end date for fall classes. The change comes amid the continued presence of the COVID-19 pandemic and how higher education institutions are looking at moving forward in the fall.
With the update, classes will now begin on August 17, 2020 and will conclude with final exams November 20-24. This will modify the course from the traditional 16-week course to a 15-week course and allow students to complete at the traditional Thanksgiving break.
Traditionally students travel during the Thanksgiving break and spend time with family and friends. With the change in the academic calendar, students will complete the semester prior to the break and will not be required to return to campus until the following semester.
With the modification in start date, the flexible semesters such as the 8-week courses and December mini session will also have modified start and end dates. The college is in the process of updating the course schedule to reflect the recent adjustment and should be reflective of the change soon.
Administrators are working with school districts across the service area to resolve any issues with dual credit schedules and the college’s health professions programs will be communicating directly with students regarding any additional changes to their schedules.
As the college moves toward the fall semester, a wide range of instruction modalities will be available to students including online and hybrid (mixture of online and face-to-face) as well as face-to-face classes.
Guidelines are currently being developed for students in the face-to-face classes as well as residence halls on the Big Spring and SWCD campuses. Future updates will be provided as more policies and procedures are finalized.
Howard College campuses remain in Phase III of the Open Howard College plan and continue to remain open to students and the public. However, due to recent concerns of COVID-19 cases increasing throughout the state and nation, we are implementing the following practices for those who come to our campuses:
- All individuals are to self-screen prior to coming to campus. If you have been exposed or are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider and do not come to campus.
- Current/prospective students on campus for advising, testing, etc. as well as general campus visitors are expected to wear face coverings when social distancing of six feet cannot be achieved. Face coverings will be provided by the college if an individual presents without one.
- All other items below remain applicable.
We look forward to working with and serving our students and communities in the safest way possible. We appreciate your cooperation as we all work together to reach the other side of this pandemic. We strongly encourage all individuals to follow federal and state protocols regarding self-screening, face coverings, hand sanitation, and social distancing.
Howard College campuses have moved into Phase III of the Open Howard College plan and are NOW OPEN to students and the public.
All offices and student services, including advising and testing, are open to current and prospective students as well as the general public. The following guidelines will be followed during this time:
- Screening checks for individuals coming to campus will NOT be required (exceptions noted in #2 below). Individuals are asked to self-screen prior to coming to campus. Face coverings are strongly encouraged but NOT required and will not be provided by the college. Social distancing will be practiced whenever possible. Individuals are asked to follow the individual health protocols issued by the State of Texas. Signage will be provided to encourage the use of same following state guidance.
- Screening and face-covering protocols following state guidelines will be implemented for students and customers within the Dental Hygiene and Cosmetology programs/clinical sites. Public visiting the Dental Hygiene Clinic and/or Cosmetology Salon(s) WILL BE REQUIRED to wear face coverings. Face covering options will be provided by the college if an individual presents without one.
- Social distancing shields will be installed in certain areas on each campus.
- Social distancing practice in lines or small spaces should continue to be followed according to state guidelines.
- Howard College faculty and staff will continue to follow office sanitation practices prior to and after each visit from individuals outside the college.
- Screening procedures for employees, contractors, and students taking coursework on campus will continue as currently implemented until stationary thermal/sanitation screening stations are installed. Supervisors and instructors will communicate with employees, contractors, and students as stations are made available and processes are modified.
As always, the continued health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and customers is our number one priority. We strongly encourage all individuals to follow federal and state protocols regarding self-screening, face coverings, hand sanitation, and social distancing.
Howard College campuses are open to current and prospective students BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.
Students should call ahead and make an appointment with a specific staff/faculty member PRIOR to coming to campus. The following guidelines will be strictly followed:
- Designated check-in areas will be used for each campus:
- Big Spring – Security Building
- Lamesa – Front Desk
- San Angelo – Front door (facing East), West Texas Training Center
- SouthWest College for the Deaf (SWCD) – Burke Administration Building
- Students must wear a mask when entering the building. A face covering will be provided if a student presents without one.
- Students must sanitize hands upon entering the building. Sanitation stations are established at the entry of each check-in area for public use.
- Each student will be required to complete a screening questionnaire and provide their signature and date/time of the visit.
- If the student answers “Yes” to question #3 or #4 on the screening, they will not be allowed to continue with the appointment. They will be asked to return home and check-in with their health-care provider.
After students complete the screening questionnaire, the staff/faculty member they are scheduled to see will come to the check-in area and escort them to the appropriate office. During the visit, all parties are required to follow the guidelines below:
- Howard College staff/faculty member will sanitize office area prior to and after the visit.
- Maintain social distance of six feet apart.
- Wear a mask in the office if unable to maintain the social distancing requirement.
- Sanitize hands upon leaving the office.
Signs will be posted on the building doors with contact information to call for an appointment if one has not been previously scheduled. Students are highly encouraged to call ahead and make an appointment. However, all efforts will be made to provide quick access to appointments if one was not previously scheduled.
First and foremost…CONGRATULATIONS to all of our students and graduates. This has been a trying semester for everyone and we are so proud of the way our students have responded and finished out the semester which will end with our Drive-Thru Graduation Celebrations this week in Big Spring and San Angelo.
As we continue to develop our structured plan to Re-Open Howard College, we feel like it is critically important to insure that we can serve our customers and each other in the safest and most effective way possible. Therefore, we are continuing our altered operations status until further notice. We are keeping the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students and public partners at the forefront of our decision-making and will utilize guidance from both federal and state agencies as we finalize our plans. Throughout the re-opening process, Howard College administration will be communicating with faculty and staff regarding individual offices and resuming regular working schedules.
Our in-person access will continue to be extremely limited during this process but our communications will continue via email and telephone and we are returning messages as quickly as possible. The college summer hours schedule begins on May 11, 2020 and staff are available Monday – Thursday, 7:30am – 5:00pm and the college is closed on Fridays. Online registration for Summer 1 and 2 courses as well as our Fall 2020 courses is open and will continue with no changes at this time.
We encourage you to follow our communications on the website and social media for the latest information and updates and contact individual departments should you have questions.
Thank you for your patience and support.
Out of an abundance of caution for our faculty, staff, and students as well as our community partners, Howard College will continue in our altered operations status through May 10th. Our in-person availability continues to be extremely limited but we are communicating via email and telephone. We will continue to do our best to return messages promptly and provide a high level of customer service during this time.
We are working to develop our plan to re-open Howard College keeping the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community partners as the highest priority. As our decisions are made we will be sure to communicate our plans to all involved.
Our online registration for Summer 1 and 2 courses as well as our Fall 2020 courses will continue. We encourage you to follow our communications on the website and social media for the latest information and contact our individual departments should you have questions.
We appreciate your patience as we work to get our campuses back open as quickly and safely as possible.
In compliance with Governor Abbott’s most recent Executive Order regarding statewide continuity of essential services and activities during the COVID-19 disaster, Howard College will be extending our altered operations status through May 3rd. All classes will remain in the online/digital/remote format through the remainder of the semester. Students in our health professions programs and select career and technical education courses will receive direction from their instructors and/or program directors regarding any changes in the status of their courses.
We understand that having to navigate this new instructional mode may be difficult for many of our students. However, our faculty and staff will remain vigilant in our efforts to reach out to students, offering support and assistance so that students can be as successful as possible.
As our staff and faculty continue to operate in the altered operations status, and in compliance with federal, state, and local directives, our “in-person” contact with the public is very limited. We are available by phone and email and will be checking messages regularly. We will do our best to return messages and assist our students, families and communities as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We appreciate your patience as we join hands with you and navigate these unchartered waters. Together we will get to the other side!
We are going to follow the Governor’s directions and continue our work from home/closed campus status through April 3, 2020. Classes will still resume Monday, March 23 in an online/digital format. Students please check your email accounts and Blackboard for information.
In response to the guidance of the White House, effective immediately, Howard College has transitioned to a “work from home” status and all campuses will be closed until March 30, 2020. Our goal remains to help students successfully finish this spring semester following the same academic calendar. Please see details below regarding specific programs, services and schedules:
- The majority of face-to-face courses are being converted to an online format and will resume March 23rd.
- Faculty will communicate changes with their students.
- Currently, we have some Health Professions programs that are underway. Health Professions program directors will be communicating with their students concerning changes in format.
- Beginning the week of March 30th, we will have face-to-face delivery begin in some instances. Faculty will communicate any changes in format with their students.
- The Harold Davis Fitness Center on the Big Spring campus will be closed beginning Tuesday, March 17th and re-open on March 30th.
- Howard Cottage will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 18th. The Cottage Director will be communicating directly with parents.
- All campus events and student activities will be postponed and/or canceled up to our graduation and pinning ceremonies. We are striving to keep those if possible.
- Spring sports (competitions, practices, etc.) have been cancelled by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association has cancelled all rodeos for eight weeks. This includes the Hawk Rodeo scheduled for April 16th – 18th.
- For students who have returned to the residence halls on the Big Spring and SWCD campuses, we are working with them and their families individually. We will make sure students on campus have supervision and access to meals.
- Students who have not returned to the residence halls on the Big Spring and SWCD campus are encouraged not to return to the residence halls until March 29th. Should students need access to their personal belongings prior to the 29th, they should contact student services to make arrangements.
- Security will continue to be in operation throughout this time period.
We are continuing to follow recommendations from state and federal authorities and have a COVID-19 response team that will be meeting daily. We will continue to release updates as new information is available. We understand that this is a trying time for our students, families, faculty, and staff and we are committed to responding with calm, purposeful action during the days ahead.
Howard College is aware of individuals in our communities served that may be self-reporting and self-quarantining if they have traveled to areas of high exposure and/or with a high concentration of confirmed cases. We are asking our families/students to self-report by sending an email to email@example.com if any of the following situations exist. The following form can be submitted with the required information.
Complete the form here
- You have traveled to a country with a Level 3 travel advisory for the COVID-19 as identified by the CD or the US Department of State in the last 14 days.
- You have been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or anyone who is currently being tested.
- You are being actively monitored or observed by any local, county, state or federal public health agencies due to risk of COVID-19.
If you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) similar to those described for COVID-19, contact a medical professional and follow instructions.
This is a dynamic situation that is constantly evolving. We are staying in contact with local and state officials as will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.
San Angelo campus: Out of an abundance of caution, the Testing Center is closed on the San Angelo campus only. We will return to normal operations in the testing center on Monday, March 23, 2020. If you have questions regarding testing availability or had a test scheduled, please contact the testing center for further information.
Hawk Athletics: Howard College will be following the guidance of the NJCAA regarding competition with spring sports as outlined below and will suspend competition March 14th – April 3rd. We encourage all Howard College Hawk athletes to contact their respective coaches for further information/instructions regarding practice standards.
We are all navigating uncharted waters carefully and cautiously as the last four days have been extremely trying for all involved, but we are committed to providing a safe and feasible plan of action to all NJCAA members across the country. At this time, we have postponed the Division I and Division II men’s and women’s basketball championships until the week of April 20th. All four hosts will make the appropriate accommodations to work with the association to provide the most beneficial opportunities for our student-athletes. There are calls set up with the chairs for Monday, March 16 with both divisions and genders of basketball to discuss the necessary rule adjustments and accommodations. A follow-up call with the athletic directors of all participating teams will occur on Thursday, March 19.
After reviewing and evaluating all of the feedback and information from our membership and regional leadership, the NJCAA is suspending all competition beginning Saturday, March 14th through Friday, April 3rd. The NJCAA Board of Regents will meet on April 3rd as previously scheduled and an update from the National Office will be provided with a full assessment of the national landscape. Should conditions improve, regions and individual colleges will be allowed to resume regular season competition in a format and time period following April 3rdthat has been approved by the region. During this entire “no competition” period, practice standards are determined by the individual colleges.
The NJCAA is also extending the date of April 3rd to April 10th for colleges to evaluate their seasons for potential hardships that fall under the 60.0% of the season completion ruling. These scenarios will greatly vary by sport. The deadline only applies to those CANCELLING their seasons of which individuals have already participated prior to the cutoff date of April 10th. It is very important to note that Dr. Parker has discussed this and in the past, an official ruling from the National Office has accompanied all student-athletes as appropriate documentation of a hardship. The NAIA and NCAA are having active conversations regarding the same concerns of their own student-athletes’ current eligibility. In this case, any student-athlete that falls under this blanket has a full commitment from the NJCAA National Office that his or her eligibility will remain intact as an NJCAA student-athlete for an additional season.
At the same time, these situations create a sense of uncertainty on future classes of Letter of Intent signees. To alleviate these concerns, the NJCAA National Office will present an increase in the number of allowable Letter of Intents for all spring teams for the 2020-2021 season to be vetted by the Eligibility Committee and officially approved by the Board of Regents at the April 3rd board meeting. This will apply to all programs, regardless if your institution competed in the spring. As an association, we understand there is no equitable way to increase for some, but not for others. If your region or institution has other rules in place, we simply ask that you inform them of the allowable increases if approved for the 2020-2021 signing class due to the mitigating circumstances of possibly returning a number of sophomores that are currently enrolled.
The NJCAA respects and values the decisions of each individual college and region to make the best appropriate decision necessary. We are fully committed to hosting spring national championships should the current situations improve. We will work with each district to make sure a pathway is clearly provided to all spring national tournaments and adjust accordingly.
Again, our goal is to look after the safety and security of all involved, while also providing a pathway to allow our student-athletes to compete for national championships in which they have worked so hard for.
Since February 3, our Communicable Diseases Co-Chairs have been monitoring the COVID-19 matter. This week we have been participating in a daily call hosted by the Texas Department of State Health Services to provide the latest information to counties, school districts and higher education. We have also been monitoring what is happening across the state, country and world.
Although there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the West Texas region or on any of our campuses at this time, we know that travel has created many of the cases in other parts of the state and country. Spring break is a time that people do travel which heightens concerns about exposure and community spread.
In the best interest of our college community, to mitigate the spread as best we can in our communities and with an abundance of caution, the following decisions have been made:
- Spring Break will be extended through March 22 for all students, including online. Classes will resume on Monday, March 23. Students in Health Professions programs are instructed to contact their programs for more information.
- Student workers should contact their supervisors for further information.
- Faculty and staff will report on March 16 to begin preparing for classes to resume on March 23.
- Campuses will continue to be open to the public.
- Student events planned for the week of March 16th will be postponed until further notice.
- Athletic events will continue until further notice.
- Residence Halls and Food Service on the Big Spring and SWCD campuses will be available to students. Returning students should determine whether the campus or their permanent residence is best suited for their situation. Residence Hall students should contact Student Services for more information.
- The Fitness Center on the Big Spring campus is open until further notice.
- Howard Cottage is open until further notice. Parents should confer with the Cottage Director for further instructions.
We will continue monitoring the situation and will share information as appropriate. In the meantime please follow guidelines being shared by authorities on ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Updated information from the CDC on coronavirus in the United States can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
The most recent information about coronavirus in Texas may be found at: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/.