COVID-19 Information

Howard Payne University continues to monitor the global outbreak of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. The purpose of this webpage is to provide up-to-date information related to the University’s response to the developing situation, as well as to provide recommendations related to preventative measures that students, faculty, staff, and others should take to protect themselves and others from illness.

Due to the fluid nature of a pandemic outbreak, the response from Howard Payne University may change on a daily basis. Any updates related to the University’s plans addressing the COVID-19 outbreak will be provided through the HPU Emergency Alert System, University social media channels (Facebook and Twitter), and via timestamped updates to this webpage.


May 22, 2020

​​May 22, 2020 (4:15 PM CDT): As a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), HPU students will be eligible to apply for an emergency relief grant to help with “their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses.”

To qualify for CARES Act grant funds, a student must be verified as eligible for Title IV financial aid and enrolled in face-to-face classes as of March 13, 2020, the date of President Trump’s national emergency proclamation.

To apply for CARES Act grant funds, please complete the CARES Act Grant Application located on HPU Gateway. The deadline to apply is August 3, 2020.

The amount each student may receive will be based on the number of applications received and the funds available.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen LaQuey, Director of Student Financial Aid, at klaquey@hputx.edu or 325-649-8805.


May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020 (2:45 PM CDT): Howard Payne University’s Commencement ceremony for May and August 2020 graduates has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 22, at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be held at Brownwood Coliseum, located at 500 E. Baker Street.

Dr. Cory Hines, president, and other university representatives will confer the undergraduate and graduate degrees. Additional program participants will be named in the days ahead.

The rescheduled date coincides with activities marking the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.

“While I know this will be an unusual way to begin the semester, I look forward to gathering together with the HPU family for this time of celebration,” said Dr. Hines. “This wonderful event is an important milestone to recognize our graduates’ achievements.”

In March, as part of HPU’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the university announced the postponement or cancellation of all its large events. HPU’s events are being rescheduled if possible, with details for each being announced when finalized.

“Our top priority remains the safety of the HPU family and our surrounding communities,” said Dr. Hines. “We remain up to date on Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Orders and regularly communicate with our city and county officials. At this stage, we are confident the span of time between now and the rescheduled August date will be sufficient for the well-being for our graduates and our guests, but we will continue to monitor the situation in the weeks and months ahead and make any necessary adjustments.”

The Commencement ceremony is customarily preceded the evening before by Chime Out, an HPU tradition in which graduating seniors pass a chain of ivy to underclassmen, representing the passing of authority, responsibility and privileges to students who remain on campus to carry on the traditions of the university. The rescheduled Chime Out will be held on Friday, August 21, at 6 p.m. in HPU’s Mims Auditorium.

More information about the ceremonies, including details on how to access HPU’s live stream of the events, will be posted on HPU’s website, www.hputx.edu, as arrangements are finalized.


April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020 (3:35 PM CDT): As part of HPU’s commitment to serve our students, the Office of Financial Aid made the following announcement:

HPU knows many families are feeling the financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak due to lost jobs or other major decreases in income due to circumstances related to the virus. If this is the situation for you, your parent(s) or your spouse, you are eligible to apply for special circumstances. Submitting a completed Request for Special Circumstance form will allow HPU’s Financial Aid staff to help you by reviewing your current financial situation, as opposed to the FAFSA tax year 2018, and making reasonable adjustments to your FAFSA income data. Please complete the form and return it to the Office of Financial Aid along with all supporting documentation. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 325-649-8015 or financial-aid@hputx.edu.


April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020 (9:00 AM CDT): On Friday, April 3, the Executive Committee of HPU’s Board of Trustees approved the issuing of credit for prorated room-and-board charges for students who purchased a meal plan and/or were living in university housing during spring 2020.

The prorated amount will be effective from March 16, 2020, through the end of the spring semester, depending on the date the student was most recently living on campus and/or utilizing the meal plan.

Any credits from the prorated portion will first go to zero out the student’s spring 2020 account balance and then be put toward any summer 2020 or fall 2020 charges. The student will have until Friday, April 17, to notify HPU of his or her choice of the semester (summer or fall) for which the remaining credit will be posted. Refunds will be issued to students who will graduate in May 2020. Credits and refunds will be posted by Friday, May 1.

University administration has communicated the details of this arrangement to all HPU students via an e-mail sent on April 6. The contact person for the issuing of credit and refunds is Jayla Devery, student accounts coordinator, at jdevery@hputx.edu or 325-649-8053.


March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020 (3:50 PM CDT): Due to the continuing impact of COVID-19 on our nation, HPU administration makes the following announcements:

  • To prioritize the health and safety of the student body and campus community, all classes will remain in an online instruction format for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.
  • HPU administrators are in communication with students to provide details on procedures moving forward.
  • Additionally, HPU will postpone the May 2020 Commencement ceremony to a future date. Administrators are exploring various options related to rescheduling the ceremony and will make an announcement when details are finalized.


March 27, 2020

March 27, 2020 (10:42 AM CDT): In compliance with the limited Stay at Home Order issued on Thursday, March 26, 2020, by Stephen Haynes, mayor of the City of Brownwood, Howard Payne University will restrict all non-essential activities and personnel will work from home beginning on Friday, March 27 at 11:59 p.m. and ending on Friday, April 3 at 11:59 p.m., with the only exception being for a limited number of personnel required to maintain essential operations on campus. All HPU coursework moved online on Monday, March 23, and will continue as planned. Further updates will be announced in the days ahead.


March 26, 2020

March 26, 2020 (11:25 AM CDT): Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president, shares a message of encouragement to students and the rest of the HPU family.

Play Video


March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020 (4:40 PM CDT): Update from HPU’s Office of Admission:

  • Individual Visits – Howard Payne University’s Office of Admission is still accepting individual visits during this time. The following is a link to sign up for an individual visit: hputx.edu/schedule-a-visit/
  • Group Events – The March Yellow Jacket Preview was cancelled for this year. However, you can click on this link to sign up for the Yellow Jacket Preview scheduled for Saturday, April 18: https://apply.hputx.edu/RecruitNewWFE/Events/EventDetails?eventId=bba6809b-24a3-e911-8110-00155dc89906
  • SAT/ACT – Currently Howard Payne University is working on a fair and compassionate plan for students who cannot access an SAT or ACT at this current time. Information will be sent to prospective students regarding our finalized testing plan in the coming days. 
  • Deposit – Howard Payne University is still accepting and processing deposits for the fall 2020 incoming class. Students can deposit online at hputx.edu/deposit.
  • SWARM – Student Welcome And Registration Months is still scheduled for April 25. To sign up for SWARM, please click on the following link: hputx.edu/schedule-classes/
  • If you have any questions, please call 325-649-8020. Thanks.


March 20, 2020

March 20, 2020 (2:14 PM CDT): Howard Payne University has the following updates for today:

  • At their 10:00 AM meeting today, HPU administrators reviewed Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-08 related to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. HPU is in compliance with the order and will fully abide by it moving forward.
  • HPU classes will begin the online format on Monday, March 23. Students should check HPU Gateway for additional information and resources.


March 19, 2020

March 19, 2020 (10:28 PM CDT): Dr. Cory Hines’ daily meetings with HPU administration continued at 10:00 AM, as the group reviewed and discussed the university’s progress in making needed adjustments prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak. A called meeting of HPU’s deans took place at 3:00 PM, led by Dr. Donnie Auvenshine and addressing preparations for the start of online course instruction, set to begin on March 23, as well as planned adjustments for advising and pre-registration for the fall 2020 semester. Dr. Ben Martin and his admission team have been developing testing accommodations for the fall 2020 incoming class of students.


March 18, 2020

March 18, 2020 (5:28 PM CDT): Howard Payne University was notified today that the first case of COVID-19 in Brown County has been confirmed. The individual is not an HPU employee or student. According to the website of the City of Brownwood, “The confirmed case was a result of international travel. The patient is female in her 60s with limited community contact, and currently quarantined and isolated. The epidemiologist at Health Department will be investigating this case with additional information to follow.”

The university remains vigilant regarding COVID-19 precautions and continues to follow established protocols to limit exposure at HPU and throughout the surrounding area. Please continue to visit this webpage for continuing updates on the steps being taken by HPU.
March 18, 2020 (4:13 PM CDT): Dr. Cory Hines sent an e-mail to all HPU personnel with an update on procedures for determining each student’s eligibility to return to campus for housing, access to resources and/or instruction. The vehicle for gathering the necessary information will be an online form distributed to students by e-mail today. Additionally, Dr. Hines’ message also recapped details from Monday afternoon’s personnel meeting. He also asked for continued prayer for HPU students and personnel as well as Brownwood and the Brown County area.


March 17, 2020

March 17, 2020 (1:35 PM CDT): The following preparations took place today.

  • Operational resources for Howard Payne University students and personnel are being readied for access on HPU’s internal online Gateway platform.
  • At 10:00 AM, HPU administrators again met to review and discuss the current status of the university’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The group will continue to meet each day this week.


March 16, 2020

March 16, 2020 (4:45 PM CDT): The below information was sent out in a press release regarding cancelled and postponed HPU events. 
As part of Howard Payne University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the university announced the postponement or cancellation of all its large events through April 12. Events will be rescheduled if possible, with details for each to be announced when finalized. The scheduling adjustments were prompted by caution about the potential spread of COVID-19.“Our number-one concern is the safety of the HPU family and our surrounding communities,” said Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president. “We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our schedule if needed.”HPU events affected by the cancellations or postponements are listed below. With regard to events for which tickets were purchased or tables were sponsored in advance, the tickets or sponsorships will be valid for the rescheduled date. Event organizers will contact ticketholders and/or table sponsors when updated event details are available.

Cancelled or postponed events:

  • All HPU Chapel services (including Holy Week activities) through April 12
  • All HPU athletics events through the spring 2020 semester
  • All Central Texas Community Band rehearsals through April 12
  • All New Horizon International Band Program events through April 12
  • All Department of Music recitals and concerts through April 12
  • All HPU Family Reception alumni events through April 12
  • Sarah “Abi” Brown’s Senior Art Reception and Exhibit, originally scheduled for March 16-20
  • Spring Sing 2020, originally scheduled for March 20-21
  • Yellow Jacket Preview, originally scheduled for March 21
  • Newbury Family Welcome Center groundbreaking ceremony, originally scheduled for March 31
  • Women’s Club Yellow Rose Luncheon, originally scheduled for April 2
  • HPU Fest, originally scheduled for April 4
  • Community Lunch and Learn, originally scheduled for April 7

As of this date, Chime Out and Commencement will be held as planned on May 8 and 9, respectively.
March 16, 2020 (3:45 PM CDT): On the day Howard Payne University’s offices reopened after Spring Break, the following meetings were held to further plan and implement HPU’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

  • At 9:00 AM, Dr. Cory Hines, president, convened a meeting with members of HPU administration to discuss procedures regarding the safety of students, personnel and visitors; temporary online instruction; postponement or cancellation of previously scheduled university events; and other related priorities. 
  • At 1:30 PM, Dr. Hines and Mr. Bill Fishback, associate vice president for business and human resources, attended a meeting of the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department to discuss local plans and preparations.
  • At 2:00 PM, an informational session was held for HPU personnel, with updates presented by Dr. Hines and Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, vice president for academic affairs.


March 13, 2020

March 13, 2020 (11:00 AM CDT): Howard Payne University is continuing to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak in the United States and across the world. Over the last several days, discussions have been taking place among University leadership with the University’s Board of Trustees, other higher education leadership groups, civic leaders, and public health officials, in order to determine how to best serve the needs of HPU students while prioritizing the health and well-being of the student body, faculty, staff, and the greater Brown County community.

This morning (March 13, 2020), Howard Payne University has made the following decisions:

  • Spring Break will be extended for an additional week to include the week of March 16 – March 20.
  • All courses will transition to an online instruction format from March 23 – April 8, with in-class instruction resuming on April 13.
  • All University offices will remain open from March 16 – April 9.
    • Faculty and staff should report to their offices as scheduled on Monday, March 16, at 8:00 AM.
    • Student workers should contact their supervisors regarding expectations during this time.
  •  Residence Halls will remain closed and will reopen on April 12 at 5:00 PM.
    • If a student needs assistance with housing during this time, he or she may contact the Office of Student Life by email at slife@hputx.edu or by phone at 325-649-8017.
  • American Southwest Conference leadership and the leadership of the ASC’s member institutions are meeting via conference call later today to discuss the spring athletic competitions. Information related to this decision will be provided as it becomes available.
  • Further information related to previously scheduled on-campus events will be forthcoming.

If you have any questions related to this decision, you may contact the Office of Student Life by email at slife@hputx.edu or by phone at 325-649-8017. Further updates will continue to be communicated through the HPU Emergency Alert System, University social media channels (Facebook and Twitter), and via timestamped updates to this webpage.


March 12, 2020

University operations

  • Howard Payne University will reopen as scheduled following Spring Break.
    • Residence Halls will reopen at 1:00 PM on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
    • University Offices will reopen at 8:00 AM on Monday, March 16, 2020.
    • Classes will continue to meet at their regularly scheduled times beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020.
    • All intercollegiate athletic competitions for the upcoming weekend, both at home and away, have been canceled by the American Southwest Conference. A conference call has been scheduled for Monday, March 16, and presidents and athletic directors of ASC member institutions will work with conference officials to determine next steps for ASC athletic competitions. 
    • Campus activities and events, including activities and events facilitated by the Student Life Office, will continue to be held as previously scheduled.
  • Some colleges and universities have extended Spring Break, suspended operations, or moved to an online instruction format in response to cases of COVID-19 on their campus or in their local communities.
    • There are currently no known cases of COVID-19, nor any known exposure to COVID-19, in Brown County.
    • University leadership continues to communicate openly with the leadership at Brownwood Regional Medical Center and with city and county health officials to monitor the local response to COVID-19.
    • If such measures are deemed necessary, Howard Payne University has developed an action plan in order to facilitate online instruction for any period of time deemed necessary.
  • Howard Payne University leadership continues to utilize valuable resources in order to allow the University to operate in a manner that continues to provide necessary course instruction and University services, all while placing student health and safety at the highest priority.
    • The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has scheduled daily conference calls for counties, school districts, and higher education leaders to update stakeholders on COVID-19 and to answer questions.
    • The Consortium for Global Education (CGE), of which Howard Payne is a member, continues to provide regular updates to the global spread of COVID-19 and is helping to identify responsive measures for institutions who have students engaging in travel-study opportunities.
    • The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) are providing HPU leadership with valuable information concerning COVID-19 response for private institutions of higher learning.
    • The American Southwest Conference (ASC) has scheduled daily conference calls with the entirety of the Conference’s athletic directors in order to assess the COVID-19 outbreak and the safety of intercollegiate competition.
    • The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is continuing to coordinate with athletic conference leadership in evaluating the risk of continuing to compete in intercollegiate athletics during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Sodexo, Howard Payne University’s food services provider, has developed regional response teams in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak. These response teams are currently working to ensure that plans are in place in the event that the COVID-19 outbreak impacts supply chain operations, to develop alternate menu options in the case of supply chain impact, and to train all Sodexo employees in preventative measures related to COVID-19.
  • Due to the risks associated with global travel, the University has identified members of the HPU Family, both students and employees, who participated in University-sponsored international travel and/or global ministry opportunities through local churches over the past week.
    • University personnel will communicate with these individuals regarding appropriate timelines for returning to campus and will provide these individuals with information related to CDC-recommended precautionary measures.
    • University personnel will continue to monitor these individuals throughout the length of the COVID-19 incubation period as identified by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


UNIVERSITY PRECAUTIONARY AND PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

  • Students, faculty, and staff who have travelled to a country with a CDC risk assessment of Level 2 or above must report their travel to University administration.
    • Students who have traveled to a country with a CDC risk assessment level of Level 2 or above must report the following information via email to the Office of Student Life
      • First and last name
      • HPU student identification number
      • Country to which you traveled
      • Date on which you returned to the United States
    • Faculty or staff members who have traveled to a country with a CDC risk assessment level of Level 2 or above must report the following information via email to Mr. Bill Fishback, Associate Vice President for Business and Human Resources.
      • First and last name
      • Job title and department
      • Country to which you traveled
      • Date on which you returned to the United States
    • Those who have traveled to a country with a CDC risk assessment level of Level 2 or above should follow the below guidelines as specified by the CDC.
      • Stay home for 14 days from the time you return from travel, monitor your health and practice social distancing. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
      • If you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing you should seek immediate medical advice. Call ahead prior to going to a doctor’s office or emergency room and alert them to your symptoms and recent travel. This will allow the medical staff to minimize exposure to other individuals.
  • If you are student and have tested positive for COVID-19, you should contact the Office of Student Life immediately.
  • If you are a faculty or staff member and have tested positive for COVID-19, you should contact Mr. Bill Fishback immediately.
  • If you are a member of a special population or group that is at a higher risk of contracting a serious illness from COVID-19, we encourage you to consult your personal healthcare provider and make a decision that addresses your concerns and/or unique health needs.
    • Special populations and higher risk groups include:
      • Older adults
      • Individuals with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
      • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
      • Young children
  • The Office of Student Life will assist in coordinating arrangements regarding class absences and coursework with the Office of Academic Affairs.
    • Students will not be penalized for having absences and/or missed assignments/tests due to following CDC procedures and/or the recommendations of professional health care providers.
  • Prior to Spring Break, the University implemented enhanced sanitation measures across campus.
    • Hand sanitizer dispensers are located in all buildings, and that the dispensers are checked daily to ensure that they are full.
    • The Facilities Department has increased cleaning of high-traffic areas across campus throughout each day.
    • A deep clean of high-traffic areas will be conducted prior to students, faculty, and staff returning to campus.
      • These locations include the Beadel Dining Hall, restrooms, locker rooms, and other public gathering spaces.


COVID-19 INFORMATION AND GUIDELINES

The following information has been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Howard Payne University encourages students, faculty, and staff to use the information below to address any concerns you have related to COVID-19.

What is a Novel Coronavirus:

  • A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
  • There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

Source: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – COVID-19 FAQs

How COVID-19 Spreads:

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Source: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – How COVID-19 Spreads

COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
  • The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of Breath

Source: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – COVID-19 Symptoms

Steps to Prevent Illness:

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • You can take the following steps to protect yourself:
    • Clean your hands often
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least twenty seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
      • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact
      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
      • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
    • Clean and disinfect
      • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
      • If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Take steps to protect others
      • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
      • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
      • Throw used tissues in the trash.
      • After you cough or sneeze, immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
      • If you are sick, you should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
      • If you are not sick, you should not wear a facemask. Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Source: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Steps to Prevent Illness

What to Do if You are Sick:

  • Stay home, except to get medical care.
    • People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
    • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
    • Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
    • As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
    • You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
    • If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick.
    • You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
    • If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a facemask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
    • You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
    • After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Source: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – What to Do if You are Sick