By John Willis, MIAT College of Technology Houston Campus President
To everyone reading this installment of my blog, I want to thank you for your patience and perseverance as all of us do our best to navigate the daily changes and challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic sends our way. I know that the temporary closure of our campuses in March and April is not one that any of us expected. Despite the uncertainty and disruption, we are experiencing, we are Houston Strong – better and stronger together.
A crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for growth and change – for every one of us.
The health and wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students will always be the highest priority of MIAT campus presidents and board members. As stay at home orders have recently been lifted, we are working with guidance from local and state officials to implement a return to campus in the safest manner possible. While we do not have all details worked out completely, we are preparing for a return to some onsite campus operations. We are ready to meet these new challenges and the new normal with which we are presented due to this crisis.
In keeping with our “get it done” character and culture, MIAT’s Houston campus is making positive forward strides:
- Our campus facility will return to a sense of normalcy. I want everyone to feel safe, secure and ready to return to our classrooms, labs, offices, conference rooms, and lunchrooms. A facilities maintenance crew is working closely with me and other faculty and staff members to develop and implement sanitization and social distancing protocols. This includes adding plexiglass barriers and more signage to ensure physical distancing is achieved along with guidance on face masks and hand washing).
- From home, a total of 36 students admirably completed their program of study on March 31 and will be participating in graduation ceremonies this summer.
- Online remote access to classes, tutoring, group discussion and study sessions is continuing
- Student may request payments to be deferred to July 1 without penalties or interest for those needing extra financial assistance.
- Our graduation ceremony originally set for May 8 will be moved to a later date once large gatherings are deemed permissible. If all goes as planned and we can keep the new date, MIAT Houston will break a record for hosting two graduation events in one day. We will welcome hundreds of our students’ family members and friends who are looking forward to watching them walk across the stage to receive their diplomas and certificates.
- Utilizing funds awarded to MIAT through the CARES Act, our students can apply for grants to assist with expenses incurred due to the coronavirus.
I am honored to serve as the president of MIAT’s Houston campus, and I am thrilled to know that our graduates will flourish in life and work for generations to come. Every program that MIAT offers at our campuses in Houston and Canton, Mich., makes a positive difference to the health, safety and wellbeing of millions of people.
MIAT is delivering essential training for essential workers — those who keep our cities, our states, our country and our world functioning. Our graduates maintain and repair aircraft; play a key role in power generation and transmission; ensure that hospitals, supermarkets, office buildings, schools and retail centers are properly heated and cooled; and ensure the structural integrity of vehicles, bridges, pipelines, warehouses, and industrial plants.
Thank you again for your patience and perseverance with the temporary closing of our Houston campus and adapting to online learning. I am looking forward to being back and better together. I have missed the positive energy of 500 highly motivated humans under one roof. Now and always, we are Houston Strong.