August 4, 2020

As the world adapts to a “new normal” with COVID-19, Specs Howard is taking proactive steps to implement Phase 2 of our “Return to the Classroom” operating strategy. While there are still significant unknowns about the future of COVID-19 and its impact on Michigan, we have, and always will, regard your health and safety as a top priority at the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.

Like other schools, organizations and businesses around the world, we are slowly getting back to work, but for now, it will not be business as usual. You’ll see your friends, classmates and instructors, but you will be required to wear a mask at all times and remain at least six feet apart from other visitors and staff. With an understanding that moving from one phase to the next is a fluid movement, many considerations are taken before making such a move. As we progress further into any phase, there may be a need to slow down and possibly even revert to a previous phase under certain conditions, as recommended by state and local officials, to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students.

Phase 2 of the Plan (effective August 17th):

Please keep in mind that each class is unique. Your instructor will let you know ahead of time what to expect in each class, each week. Stay tuned to Canvas messages and class announcements for the quickest communications. Below is a list of general expectations during Phase 2:

  • Lectures and assignment demonstrations will be delivered asynchronously, if required. This means you can view them at any time during the week, but we prefer that you view the content during your scheduled class time, if not before. This does not count toward your resident attendance.
  • At your regularly scheduled resident course time (10 AM or 6 PM), your instructor will be live online via the Canvas BigBlueButton conference to cover the week’s assignments and expectations. This counts toward your resident attendance; please be on time!
    • You may attend class online via the BigBlueButton (this will still be recorded) at the class start time, or you may schedule to attend face to face, which will be limited to six students at a time.
    • Your instructor will remain online via BigBlueButton for the duration of the scheduled class. In the event that you have any questions while working on the weekly assignments, log back into the conference.
    • Your instructor will also be available face to face in your scheduled classroom for the duration of the class. If you would like to attend for additional assistance, please schedule an appointment to come to the school.
    • Please note that you may be required to complete an assignment before the end of class in order to count toward your resident attendance.
  • Students are allowed to request and pick up production gear for any class assignment. The gear will be sanitized using a 99% isopropyl alcohol solution before you pick it up.
    • Gear is to be used during your “class” time and must be returned immediately after class.
    • Upon return, the equipment must be wiped down with a 99% isopropyl alcohol solution, assisted by your instructor.
    • You MUST submit an online gear request via your Canvas module and receive confirmation from your instructor.
  • Students are allowed to request studio time for any class assignment. Students will be limited to a maximum of five at a time, which means that some time slots may be outside of the scheduled class time to accommodate all students. The equipment will be sanitized before and after use.
  • Students are allowed to use the matte room to print and assemble any projects required for class. The use of the room will be limited to your scheduled class time.

As we implement our strategy to safely welcome all of you back to the building, I want to invite each of you to return with an understanding that we will be utilizing safety protocols and sanitizing procedures to do our part in protecting all who enter our facility. It is CRITICAL and EXPECTED that if you have symptoms, are concerned that you have been in direct contact with anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or have traveled outside of Michigan in the last 14 days, you DO NOT attempt to enter the facility. Please contact your instructor or the Student Success Department via Canvas and advise them of your situation.

As we progress from phase to phase, your questions and concerns are valued and encouraged. If you would like to ask a question or talk with someone regarding this plan, please follow this link and we will respond by the next business day. https://www.specshoward.edu/student-help-request/

As of right now, the Specs Howard campus is only open to students and staff. Any visitors will need to make an appointment with the appropriate staff member to enter our facility. Please check back to this page regularly for updates on our visitor policy.

– Specs Howard School of Media Arts

June 22, 2020

A cautious congratulations to all in Michigan, as the statistics for COVID-19 are continuing to improve across the state and specifically in the Metro Detroit area.  As state and local officials have recently begun decreasing the regulations and requirements on local businesses, they remain rather firm for schools.  We have, and always will, regard your health and safety as a top priority at the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.

We have started reacclimatizing our staff to the building with hopes of students re-entering the facility as soon as it is deemed safe by state and local officials.  We will be utilizing safety protocols and sanitizing procedures to do our part in the awareness and protection of all who enter our facility.

We have developed a 4-phase plan for re-acclimatization back to the resident/online hybrid curriculum which you are used to.  It is with an understanding that moving from one phase to the next is a fluid movement.  Many considerations are taken before moving into the next phase.  As we progress further into any phase, there may be a need to slow down and possibly revert in certain conditions as recommended by the state and local officials to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students.  We are currently in phase 1 of the 4-part plan.

Phase 1 of the Plan (effective immediately):

  • All regularly scheduled resident course times are being held live online via the Canvas “Big Blue Button”.
  • Students are allowed to request production gear for any class assignments and pick it up as a “curbside” pick-up.
  • The gear will be sanitized using a 99% Isopropyl alcohol solution before you pick it up.
  • Gear is to be used during your “class” time and must be returned immediately after class.
  • Upon return, the equipment must be wiped down with a 99% isopropyl alcohol solution assisted by your instructor.
  • Pick-up and drop-off of equipment will be scheduled with your instructor, and will take place at the east entrance of the building (covered parking side).
  • You MUST submit an online gear request via your Canvas Module and receive a confirmation from your instructor.
  • Any person entering the building will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and have their temperature taken using a contactless thermometer.
  • Any person entering the building must wear a mask, sanitize their hands and respect a six-foot space between other people.

Phase 2 of the Plan (when metro Detroit reaches PHASE 5 of the State of Michigan COVID-19 management guidelines)

  • ALL PHASE 1 ITEMS APPLY.
  • Allow students to make appointments with their instructors to utilize the radio studios, check out production equipment, utilize the Matte Room, and meet with faculty.
  • Any person entering the building will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and have their temperature taken using a contactless thermometer.
  • Any person entering the building must wear a mask, sanitize their hands and respect a six-foot space between other people.
  • OPEN LAB will be held based on a limited schedule with social distancing guidelines in place.
  • Station sanitation will be performed regularly, and it is recommended that you also sanitize your station before and after use.

Phase 3 of the Plan (Date TBA):

  • ALL PHASE 2 ITEMS APPLY.
  • Faculty will begin teaching their regularly scheduled resident courses in the building; limited students will be allowed to attend live, while others may choose to continue attending online via the Canvas “BIG BLUE BUTTON”.
  • Classroom seating may be arranged to honor social distancing and recommended precautions to limit the spread of infection.
  • Any person entering the building must wear a mask, sanitize their hands and respect a six-foot space between other people.
  • OPEN LAB will be held based on a limited schedule with social distancing guidelines in place.
  • Station sanitation will be performed regularly, and it is recommended that you also sanitize your station before and after use.

Phase 4 of the Plan: (Date TBA):

  • Return to normal following recommendations of state and local officials for sanitizing and social distancing in a career education facility.

As we progress from phase to phase, your questions and concerns are valued and encouraged.  If you would like to ask a question or talk with someone regarding this plan, please follow this link and we will respond by the next business day.

https://www.specshoward.edu/student-help-request/

– Specs Howard School of Media Arts

May 13, 2020

Things are certainly different from the last time we were all in our building. Nobody knows for sure how things will change or what will happen (and when), but we do know this: classes at the Specs Howard School are enrolling for June and beyond. We would love to hold those classes in our building, but we are bound by state and federal guidelines, so we are relying on them for our timeline.

Once we do come back to our building, rest assured that we will be doing everything we possibly can to help keep everyone safe and healthy, including the use of masks and gloves when and where necessary, as well as working at a safe distance from each other. The school will be thoroughly cleaned before reopening, and it will be cleaned in the morning and afternoon of each school day.

We are developing new methods of teaching with your safety in mind – for example, holding groups to small numbers, and making wipes and hand sanitizer available for students and staff.

Students have been performing well in the 100% online-learning scenario, and, if we need to, we will continue that method of delivering your education to you. Things are evolving and changing quickly, but your health and welfare are our primary concerns, so your learning and education will continue to evolve with these changes. We want you to continue to join us during this new and different time. For 50 years, Specs Howard has evolved and changed with the times, and we have no intention of stopping now, so we’re hoping you’ll stay with us moving forward – whatever that may look like!

Martin Liebman
President
– The Specs Howard School

May 8, 2020

On May 7, 2020, Governor Whitmer extended the stay-at-home order until May 28, 2020. Although certain workers can resume work, the basic order still means that you can’t leave your home unless it’s for critical errands or safe outdoor activities. You are also required, if you can medically tolerate it, to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces (such as grocery stores).

While there are certain jobs (such as manufacturing, landscaping, etc.) that are reopening – with protections in place – we at the Specs Howard School will need to keep our building closed and our classes online at least until June 1, 2020.

Although more than 4000 people in Michigan have died as a result of COVID-19, medical experts do believe that staying at home has helped lessen the effects of the coronavirus and kept that number from being even higher. They also believe that extending the stay-at-home order can reduce the possibility of a second wave, which, if that happens, they believe could be worse than the first wave.

So, we are asking you all to do your part and stay home. We are here for you, for any questions or problems, but, as always, your health and safety are our primary concern and we, therefore, ask for your continued understanding as we work to get through this.

Thank you, and we’re still hoping to see you all soon!
– The Specs Howard School

April 27, 2020

As of today, April 27, 2020, there are over 38,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan, and over 3,400 deaths as a result. In order to try and continue slowing the spread of the coronavirus, Governor Whitmer has extended the stay-at-home order through Friday, May 15, 2020. As part of this new order, if they can medically tolerate it, people are now required (not simply encouraged) to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces.

Since May 15 is a Friday, the first day that the Specs Howard School would institute any changes would be Monday, May 18. But, keep in mind that this does not mean things will be back to normal at that point. We will continue to hold classes online until further notice, and we will let you know of any other possible changes.

Since things are constantly evolving – often very quickly – the May 15 date may not be final; if the governor changes that date, we will post updates here on our website.

As always, our first and foremost concern is the health and safety of our extended community, so please follow this new directive, and stay home and stay safe!

– The Specs Howard School

April 1, 2020

The White House has extended the coronavirus guidelines for the entire country through April 30. The Specs Howard School building will, therefore, remain closed through that date, and classes will continue online.

While a nationwide stay-at-home order has not been issued at this point, the guidelines have been extended, and we at the Specs Howard School believe that abiding by the CDC recommendations, which include social distancing, will help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Although, as of now, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has not extended her stay-at-home order, we still believe this is the best course of action for our students, our staff and our community at large.

Thank you for your understanding.

Stay healthy,

The Specs Howard School

March 23, 2020

Today, March 23, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a statewide stay-at-home order effective at least through April 13, 2020. Included in that order is the extension of school closings through April 13. As of today, there are more that 1,200 known cases of COVID-19 in Michigan.

Governor Whitmer’s order takes effect at 12:01 AM, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, and in line with this order, the Specs Howard School building will remain closed through April 13. Online classes will continue as scheduled.

We continue to monitor the situation and will post updates as necessary.

Please stay home, stay safe and stay healthy.

For more information, please visit https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.

Thank you,
The Specs Howard School

March 16, 2020

In light of the spread of the coronavirus, and following Governor Whitmer’s guidelines, effective Monday, March 16th, 2020, Specs Howard School classes will be conducted online until further notice.

Although the physical building will be closed, the staff will be working remotely and all support services will be available.

All messages to and from students will be handled through Canvas. Please check Canvas for details regarding your specific classes.

We apologize for any inconvenience, but as the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, we feel that these changes are necessary. We are monitoring the situation daily and will follow up with updates as things change.

Thank you,
The Specs Howard School

March 15, 2020

To Specs Howard Students:

The leadership team at Specs Howard meets daily to stay on top of the evolving situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are formulating plans and actions to, most importantly, help keep you safe, and secondly, allow you to finish your classes so that you can graduate on time.

Listening to the advice of Governor Gretchen Whitmer to close Michigan K-12 schools and limit contact of large groups, the Specs Howard School will close to students the week of Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 20, 2020. During this week, we’re working to move as many classes as possible to a distance learning format. Online assignments will remain open during the closure, and you are expected to continue working on those assignments.

Given the rapidly changing nature of the outbreak, Specs Howard will carefully reassess the situation daily and continue to share updates as they become available. Please remember:

• It’s imperative that you check your school email or Canvas regularly for updated information from your instructors on how your classes will continue. In addition, instructors teaching production or performance courses will be sending you information on how these classes will continue. Again, keep checking your email.
• Stay home if you are sick and notify your instructors or Student Success. Our institution and instructors will work with your specialized needs to help you stay on track by offering distance learning formats for classes and alternative formats for student services, such as online tutoring and academic advising by phone or Canvas conferences. We will help our community to continue to move forward as best as possible.

While the school is closed for resident classes during this week, please continue to work on your online assignments and continue to communicate with us via phone, Canvas, or email. The safety of students, visitors and staff is our top priority, and we will continue to monitor new developments closely. We will update you soon on our plan to resume classes in the coming days.

March 12, 2020

We would like to assure each of you that your health and safety remains a high priority in our commitment to providing you with a safe environment, allowing you to concentrate on your coursework. We are closely monitoring the progression of the Coronavirus as it has spread from state to state. Recently, it has been confirmed that two individuals in the State of Michigan have been infected with the virus. On Wednesday evening, March 11, 2020, Michigan Governor Whitmer asked that everyone limit large gatherings of over 100 individuals. Federal recommendations discourage multiple classrooms from mixing or sharing common gathering places for extended periods. Many large colleges and universities have responded by canceling resident classes for a short period due to the large number of students (in the thousands) attending and living in close proximity to each other in dormitories.

At this time, we will continue with classes as scheduled and follow the recommendations of federal, state and local officials in minimizing the spread and impact of the virus. 

The following are precautions we encourage, and will be following:

  • We will have hand sanitizer and disinfecting spray/wipes in each classroom and staffed area for use at regular intervals.
  • You will be encouraged to wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds at the start of class and after you return from breaks.
  • Keyboards, mice, desktop surfaces and doorknobs will be wiped down before and in between classes. Students and staff will have access to disinfecting spray/wipes for personal use to wipe down personal spaces and devices, as needed.
  • Production gear will be disinfected before it goes out and when it is returned.  

We encourage good personal hygiene:

  • Continue greeting each other, but please don’t shake hands and refrain from other body contact.
  • Clean your hands at regular intervals with soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Create habits and reminders to avoid touching your face.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue (which you should then immediately throw into the trash), or into the crook of your elbow.

Please stay home if you are feeling sick, have a sick family member in your home or believe you have come in contact with someone that has tested positive for the Coronavirus. 

Symptoms of the Coronavirus include:

• fever
• cough
• shortness of breath

Please note that some people have experienced other flu-like symptoms, as well, such as headache, chills, muscles aches, etc.

If there is reason for you to miss class, please notify your instructor and the Student Success Department via Canvas before the start of class. Someone from the Student Success Department will contact you to discuss your personal situation.

As we have done over the past 50 years, we will continue to look toward each other for support and encouragement. We will continue to track and monitor any new developments and recommendations as they are communicated by the local, state and federal authorities. Assessments will be based on those recommendations now and in the near future. We wish to maintain an open line of communication with each of you and will update you via Canvas messages as we continue to assess the situation.

You can visit the following websites for additional information:

https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/symptoms-causes/syc-20479963

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/29/health/coronavirus-flu.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/01/22/mapping-spread-new-coronavirus/?arc404=true

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/2019-novel-coronavirus-myth-versus-fact

Please continue to practice good hygiene, stay healthy, and we’ll keep you updated.

The Specs Howard School of Media Arts