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BIG SPRING – Howard College has made some recent changes to their 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.


“The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our number one priority and has been the driving force in our decision-making process,” said Dr. Cheryl Sparks, Howard College President. “We have been watching what other colleges and universities are doing and we have followed state and federal guidelines as we deliberate. We feel this is the prudent step to take at this time.”


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.


“This situation we find ourselves in changes daily with the state and federal responses to COVID-19, and we are doing our very best to respond thoughtfully, with the best interest of our students at the forefront,” Sparks added. “We will continue to evaluate the situation daily and make preparations for students that address their educational needs as well as their safety and security.”


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.


“We want to offer a wide variety of instructional settings to accommodate all of our students,” said Sparks. “We know they each have unique needs and we are ready to be their college of choice, in whatever learning environment suits them best.”


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.


For more information about Howard College visit or contact Cindy Smith at 432-517-0073 or COVID-19 updates can be located at


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