Supporting Language Needs During COVID-19
April 9th, 2020
Español | 中文 | 한국어
The COVID–19 pandemic has had a significant impact on all Howard County communities, families and schools, requiring timely and effective communication from many sources, including the school system. Nearly 6%, or roughly 3,500 students, are English language learners whose families are among those who may require additional support to understand the new information and updates being issued and posted online daily.
The HCPSS website is updated regularly with new information and remains the repository of all information related to HCPSS’ coronavirus response. Many of the most important documents and resources have been translated into Spanish and other languages. Families needing language support can find information on how to access interpretation services, which is posted throughout the HCPSS website.
While the volume and frequency of updates precludes HCPSS’ ability to translate all information posted to the website, staff have implemented an engagement strategy that assists students and families through individual direct contact to provide information in a timely and understandable format. Family liaisons, Pupil Personnel Workers (PPWs), and other staff members are making daily phone calls to families to answer questions and provide important information related to instruction and learning. Additionally, other HCPSS staff members who speak multiple languages have been leveraged to support the efforts of our liaisons and PPWs to provide one on one contact with families. Over 10,000 calls have been made to date to provide individual support and resources to HCPSS families. The HCPSS International Office has coordinated translation services as well as interpreting services for families that need it.
HCPSS Translated Supports Provided by HCPSS
- Translated information on how to access language services is included in every daily update email sent by HCPSS to the community.
- HCPSS Call Center is available and messages have been checked daily.
- Overview and contact information near the top of the COVID–19 webpage was translated into Spanish, Chinese and Korean.
- A flyer of information from health professionals on staying safe and healthy during the pandemic was translated. English | Spanish | Chinese | Korean
- Included links to translated resources provided by the National Association of School Psychologists about Talking to Children About COVID–19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource in the resources to parents.
- Linked to the Maryland Department of Health’s FAQ page that includes translations rather than to the English version.
- Translated resources provided during Phase 1 and 2 of the Continuity of Learning Plan: Spanish | Chinese | Korean
- The Student Technology Survey instructions were provided in multiple languages online.
- The Student Device Agreement was translated for families receiving a Chromebook.
- Translated instructions for Connecting a Chromebook to Wi-Fi for families receiving a Chromebook.
- For high school families who are borrowing student technology devices, emails with details on device pickup were translated.
- Interpreters were present at sites where technology devices and instructional resources were distributed.
- Information about needing interpreting support was translated and added to the bottom of HCPSS email updates, beginning March 31.
HCPSS appreciates the support of community partners in helping our international families receive the resources and information that is being provided daily by HCPSS.