HCPSS School Closure Update: April 6, 2020
April 6th, 2020
The following update was sent to the HCPSS community by Superintendent Michael Martirano on April 6, 2020:
This week teachers are preparing for the transition to the next phase of our Continuity of Learning process, which begins April 14 for high school students, and the following week for middle and elementary students. Communication has been a top priority throughout this closure period, and up to this point I have emailed all families and staff each day to share new announcements and ensure that learning continues while schools are closed. As we shift to online teacher-led learning, you will receive frequent messages directly from teachers and principals to provide information specific to your student and school. I realize that at times you may feel overwhelmed with messaging, so rather than daily updates, I will start each week with an update on our progress and any new announcements, and we will end the week with a summary of system-level information.
Of course, I will continue to immediately share with you any major announcements affecting students and families throughout our system.
Our HCPSS COVID–19 website provides the latest information and resources for Continuity of Learning, answers to many frequently asked questions, and much more. This one-stop resource is updated regularly so please check back often.
Please know that our students and staff are always uppermost in my thoughts and prayers. While I plan to check in frequently on the online meetings that take place among teachers, students and colleagues, I miss seeing students and staff members in person, and I look forward to the day when we can all return to our schools and offices. Until that day, I wish you and your family peace and good health.
The following update provides additional information for families and staff.
HCPSS Connect Outage
The Information Technology Department will perform a routine update to a technology system, Friday, April 11 from 10–11 p.m. During this time, access to Synergy will be unavailable for staff and students, who still will be able to access Canvas. HCPSS Connect will be unavailable for parents/guardians, including Synergy and Canvas. If you experience any system issues after this change, please contact Technology Support.
Student Registration for the 2020–2021 School Year
Parents/guardians of new incoming students and those entering kindergarten in the 2020–2021 school year (who are not already enrolled) can begin the enrollment process online, then complete the final steps of the enrollment process once schools reopen. Online registration is not required and parents may elect to complete the full registration in person at the time of reopening. Guidelines for Kindergarten registration, Kindergarten and 1st Grade early admission, and Pre-K applications are provided online.
Limited quantities of pens, pencils and notebooks will be available at the Hammond, Long Reach and Oakland Mills high school Technology Distribution sites, which students/families may pick up if supplies are needed for continuity of learning at home. Prepare for Success has donated its inventory of school supplies, which will soon be available at meal distribution sites. Please stay tuned as we gather this inventory this week and prepare for a wider distribution beginning next week.
Distance Learning Course Schedules
Each teacher will inform students and families of the schedule for their courses. For high school students, April 14–17 will be an orientation week. Students will receive a message via Canvas from each of their teachers with specific details about the orientations, including Google Meet login information and meeting date/time. By 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 14, teachers will post learning activities and assignments in Canvas. During the orientation week, students will be able to work independently to complete the learning activities and assignments, which should require no more than one hour to complete per class. Students will submit work through Canvas by 10 a.m. on Friday, April 17. General scheduling information for elementary, middle, and high school levels is provided on the HCPSS website.
Technology and Internet Access: Families may request devices to support remote learning by completing the Student Technology Survey. We understand that families who have already submitted a survey may need to reassess their needs after distance learning begins. More information about student devices is provided online.
Comcast has opened free access to its Xfinity WiFi network, making hotspots across the country available to anyone, including non-subscribers, at no cost. Search by zip code or city to find a hotspot near you at wifi.xfinity.com. Comcast is also providing low cost internet access to eligible families through its Comcast Internet Essentials program.
- Account Self-Service for Students: Students now have the ability to retrieve their usernames and reset passwords, independent of teachers and staff. Directions on using self-service can be found online.
- Meal Distribution During Spring Break: 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. Note: There will be no meal service April 10 or 13; meals for those days will be distributed Thursday, April 9, with instructions for storage and preparation.
- Third-Quarter Grading: Third-quarter grading was previously scheduled to end on April 3. For all students, HCPSS will base third-quarter grades on work assigned on and prior to March 13, the last day schools were in session, as the majority of the quarter had already taken place when schools were closed. Additional details are provided online.