Howard College Official Updates

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 communications@howardcollege.edu if any of the following situations exist. The following form can be submitted with the required information.

Complete the form here

  1. 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.
  2. You have been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or anyone who is currently being tested.
  3. 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/.