HPU to start fall semester on Aug. 24 with extra guidelines
Howard Payne University’s fall 2020 semester will begin as scheduled on Aug. 24, pending any delays or other modifications as directed by government officials, according to a news release from the school.
The university announced this week that classrooms, residence halls and other campus facilities, as well as the university’s El Paso and New Braunfels centers, will be open for students while allowing for proper social distancing and other protocols in line with COVID-19 guidelines.
In March, with the rapid outbreak of COVID-19 across the U.S. and around the world, the university moved all remaining coursework for the spring semester to an online format and canceled or postponed numerous events. Summer coursework is in progress online and in a limited capacity on-site.
Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president, said the decision to reopen the campus this fall was made after a lengthy process of research and deliberation by the university’s officials.
“Every college and university is weighing the various factors and determining the best course of action for the fall semester,” Hines said in the news release. “Our administration explored a wide range of options for various scenarios, and, based on the latest information we have on COVID-19 and the readiness of our campus, we’re confident we’ll be ready to reopen as planned.”
Various health-related initiatives implemented by HPU to prepare for students’ return include the following:
• Continued meetings of HPU’s COVID-19 Response Team to evaluate potential scenarios and develop response plans
• Protocols for reducing classroom occupancy and promoting social distancing
• Cleaning procedures for high-traffic areas, including hallways, entrance areas and lobbies, throughout the day
• Standards for reporting and self-quarantine should a student or employee develop symptoms similar to COVID-19
The semester will continue through final exams Dec. 7-10, unless health conditions warrant adjustments to scheduling and/or class format, the release states.
“With preparedness in mind, alternative plans have been developed in consultation with our leadership and deans that will allow us to continue to provide Christ-centered education to our students,” Hines said. “If health conditions change and we need to adjust as the semester progresses, we are well positioned to do so quickly and efficiently.”
Hines said he and senior leadership from HPU’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics are in regular communication with representatives of other member institutions in the American Southwest Conference to prepare for fall competition and ensure the safety of student-athletes, staff and fans. Currently, all sporting events are planned to resume as scheduled.
Hines expressed enthusiasm for reopening the campus to new and returning students while remaining committed to taking necessary precautions.
“Our first priority continues to be the safety of the HPU family and our surrounding communities,” he said. “We monitor the COVID-19 updates each day as we have for several months, and we maintain contact with various local, county and state officials. We’ve been preparing our campus for a safe, smooth reopening in August. Our students are eager to get to campus, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them and continuing to provide an unmatched student experience.”
Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2020 semester at HPU at www.hputx.edu/apply. For more information about HPU, including financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at email@example.com.