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Important COVID-19 Message from the Superintendent

March 19th, 2020

The following message was sent to the HCPSS community by Superintendent Michael Martirano on March 19, 2020:

Late this morning, we learned through a press conference held by Governor Hogan that a Howard County child was diagnosed with COVID–19. It saddens me greatly to know that this pandemic has now hit this close to home. We can confirm that the child is an HCPSS student attending Elkridge Elementary School, however, to protect their privacy, we cannot reveal any other information. I have been in touch with Principal Mike Caldwell who will be reaching out to Elkridge Elementary School families and staff via email and has spoken with the family of the student.

I have remained in contact with Howard County Health Officer, Dr. Maura Rossman who has informed me that there is no more risk to students and staff at that school than there is to any other students or members of the Howard County community. I encourage all of our families to continue to follow the guidance we have been sharing with you every day. Please know the Howard County Health Department (HCHD) is investigating this confirmed case and will contact anyone who could be at risk.

With 59,000 students, their parents and guardians, and thousands of HCPSS employees living in Howard County, it was inevitable that this pandemic would directly impact our school system.

I want to assure Howard County families that, as directed by the State of Maryland and using products and techniques approved by the HCHD, the HCPSS operations team has been working each day this week to ensure that Elkridge Elementary – and every other HCPSS school and building – is being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Staff members are taking all personal precautions aligned with protocols and guidelines that have been approved to disinfect all areas of the building that students and staff have come into contact with.

I know this can lead to difficult conversations at home, so we have provided resources that can help you have this conversation with your children. I strongly urge you to look through the resources for parents section on the HCPSS website. Specifically, we have shared the language that staff members used last Friday to talk with students about this difficult topic (elementary schools; secondary schools). This language was crafted by student services professionals and may benefit you and your child as we continue to tend to our mental health, just as much as our physical health.

The health crisis we are experiencing is unprecedented. I cannot reinforce more strongly the direction from the Governor and local and national health officials to ensure we keep ourselves safe, limit the spread of the virus by adhering to stringent social distancing measures and helping to eradicate it from our communities. If we all do our part, we can minimize the disruption in our community and help to keep our children and neighbors safe.

If you believe you have symptoms of, or have questions related to COVID–19, the HCHD Coronavirus Information Line is available seven days a week from 8 a.m.–8 p.m. by calling 410–313–6284. You are also encouraged to consult with your primary care provider for medical guidance related to your personal health.

Thank you for all you are doing to keep your child safe and the many efforts you are doing to support your child and yourself.