HCPSS School Closure Daily Update: March 31, 2020
March 31st, 2020
The following update was sent to the HCPSS community by Superintendent Michael Martirano on March 31, 2020:
This week marks the start of Phase 2 of our Continuity of Learning process. Teachers have begun virtually reconnecting with students and families to support learning, and they are starting to prepare for the formal, remote instruction that begins later this month. You can find complete information on our website about each phase of our Continuity of Learning plan:
- Phase 1 began Monday, March 13: Parents received resources for students to use for enrichment and skill-building at home, and as a bridge to the more formal Phase 3 learning.
- Phase 2 began Monday, March 30: Yesterday, teachers began engaging virtually with students and families to support continued learning. This week, HCPSS teachers will begin professional learning to prepare for Phase 3 of distance learning.
- Phase 3 will include more formal, teacher-led distance learning for high school students beginning on April 14 followed by elementary and middle school instruction beginning on April 20.
Yesterday, Governor Hogan issued an Executive Order requiring residents to stay at home except for essential activities, which include travel to educational institutions for purposes of receiving meals or instructional materials for distance learning. All planned HCPSS food and instructional material distribution will continue as scheduled. Additional information about the impact of the order specifically for Howard County residents is provided on the county website.
I’m pleased to announce that beginning Thursday, April 2, meals will be provided at Deep Run Elementary School, in addition to our 12 other HCPSS and community meal sites. Please note also that parents have the option of collecting meals for their children, who do not need to be present. Already, HCPSS has served more than 70,000 meals since schools were closed due to the COVID–19 crisis.
Distribution of Chromebooks for use by students for distance learning will begin on Thursday, April 2. High school families who requested a device, either through the Student Technology Survey or directly from a staff member or interpreter, will receive an email from the HCPSS Information Technology Office with details on where and when devices may be picked up. Device distribution for middle and elementary families will occur at a later date. Students will need access to a device for approximately two hours of distance learning each day, so families will be able to share a single device. More information on student technology and device distribution is available online.
I appreciate your continued patience, flexibility and support as our staff navigate the challenges of a new, virtual model for teaching and learning, while often balancing the same demands of caring for and overseeing the learning of their own children at home that all of our parents are experiencing.
I urge you to continue to focus on your family’s continued health and well-being, by carefully adhering to social distancing mandates and health experts’ guidance, and not hesitating to seek support from loved ones or community providers when needed. A recently updated list of community resources is available online for families and staff facing mental well-being challenges. Please also regularly visit our HCPSS COVID–19 website, as updates and additional answers to frequently asked questions are posted regularly.
The following daily update provides additional details for families and staff.
Simulated Congressional Hearings Update
Due to the unforeseen schedule changes due to COVID–19, the 2020 Simulated Congressional Hearings will be canceled for this year. We look forward to resuming them next year.
Supporting Instruction at Home
A new resource to help students and parents adjust to continuing learning from home is provided on the HCPSS Continuity of Learning website. Suggestions are provided for establishing a schedule, creating an environment conducive to learning, and transitioning to distance learning. Print copies are available at HCPSS meal sites.
Access to Learning Fund
Bright Minds Foundation has launched an emergency Access to Learning Fund to raise money for critical education access supports for HCPSS students during the extended COVID–19 school closure. Find more information on the Bright Minds website.
Expanded Meal Distribution
HCPSS is providing free Grab-N-Go meals through April 24 to anyone age 18 and under and/or any HCPSS student, regardless of age, at locations countywide. Meals are available from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., weekdays. Participants will be given a snack, lunch and dinner for that day, as well as a breakfast for the following day, and are encouraged to bring a bag to carry home meals each day. Friday distributions at school locations also will include weekend meals.
Several HCPSS programs rely on funding based on accurate census information, so all families are encouraged to participate in the 2020 census, which may be completed online. Learn more.
Las familias pueden ver las guías específicas por grado del HCPSS en español, coreano y chino.
Para asistencia con servicios de interpretación, visite la página de Idiomas en el sitio del HCPSS.
家庭可以上网上去看 HCPSS 针对不同年级的西班牙文、韩文和中文指南 (https://www.hcpss.org/health/coronavirus/continuity-learning/#zh)。
如需翻译服务，请访问 HCPSS 网站上的语言(Languages)网页 (https://www.hcpss.org/languages/)。
가족 여러분께서는 HCPSS 의 학년별 안내(grade-specific guides)를 스페인어와 한국어 또는 중국어로 보실 수 있습니다.
통번역 서비스 지원을 위해서는 HCPSS 웹사이트의 언어별 페이지(Languages page)를 참조하시기 바랍니다.