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HCPSS School Closure Daily Update: March 17, 2020

March 17th, 2020

The following update was sent to the HCPSS community by Superintendent Michael Martirano on March 17, 2020:

As we complete our second day of our school closure, I hope you and your family are finding ways to adjust to new routines. This situation is uncharted water for us all, and I appreciate your messages of support as we face this challenge together. I also encourage you to check regularly for announcements of new guidance and information being shared nearly every day at the local, state and national level.

The Coronavirus COVID–19 pandemic is constantly evolving and it’s important that all community members stay informed of the latest news and information regarding state and county updates. Here are few resources to receive the latest information:

Though schools may be closed, the school system is not and there are many staff working to ensure that our schools are ready for students and staff to return when the state ends the closure. In accordance with guidelines provided by the Howard County Health Department (HCHD) and MSDE, HCPSS operations staff are cleaning and disinfecting all 77 schools and additional administrative buildings that are operated and maintained by the school system. The cleaning protocols are extensive and detailed, requiring several days in each building to ensure that all surfaces that could be touched by students and staff in every classroom, hallway, bathroom and office are cleaned and disinfected using HCHD-approved materials and procedures. Dedicated teams consisting of staff from the Offices of Custodial, Grounds and Maintenance are working very hard to ensure every building and classroom are prepared for the return of students and staff.

Additionally, Food and Nutrition Services staff are working hard to provide breakfasts, lunches and dinners to any HCPSS student and all children under 18 years old. Today, 4,830 meals were served across the nine sites. More information on the HCPSS free meal distribution can be found online.

Yesterday, I shared information about our ongoing work to prepare for instructional continuity in the event that an extended school closure is announced. As a more comprehensive distance learning plan is devised, please know that complete details will be communicated to the entire HCPSS community.

We will continue to make every effort to keep you informed as new information becomes available. Please continue to refer to our website, where we post all COVID–19/school closure-related information, resources and updates.

The following daily update provides additional details for families and staff. Please continue to use www.hcpss.org for up to date information.

Frequently Asked Questions

The COVID–19 FAQ section of the website has been expanded and is being updated regularly with additional answers to questions. Please visit the FAQ page on a regular basis for additional information.

Work-Based Learning

Social distancing is critical to slow the spread of coronavirus COVID–19. As such, all students enrolled in work-based learning programs will not participate in any on-site work associated with these courses until schools reopen. Details online.

Community Supports

We appreciate the offers of help from our community. Please contact the Partnerships Office about opportunities to support students once schools are reopened. In the meantime, the Howard County Food Bank, American Red Cross and other local charities would welcome your support during this pandemic.

Howard County Library eContent

While you are home, explore and use Howard County Library System’s eContent, including e-books and e-audiobooks; streaming TV, movie, and music; online classes; and digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. All you need is your library card and PIN. If you don’t yet have a library card, apply online and use your temporary number. Students can access these resources with their A+ student accounts directly through www.hcpss.me.

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