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Get Ready for the 2020-2021 School Year!

August 27th, 2020

The first day of school is fast approaching! Here’s what you need to know for the 2020-2021 school year. Complete details on the school year, including information on Google Meet expectations, attendance and more can be found online. Please note that changes to grading policy will be discussed at the September 10 Board of Education meeting. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Prepping for Day One

Student Technology Devices

HCPSS is able to purchase a sufficient amount of devices necessary to eventually achieve a 1:1 student-to-device ratio for all students in grades pre-K through 12. Due to vendor delays, order fulfillment will not arrive as expected and HCPSS is adjusting its device distribution plan.

All elementary school students will be provided with a Chromebook prior to the first day of school. Parents of middle and high school students must request a device if your child is in need. All families may indicate a need for internet access. Full details are available online. Families in need of assistance to indicate their need for computer or internet should contact their child’s school for additional support.

Virtual Instruction Responsibilities, Expectations and Best Practices

A successful virtual instruction program for the 2020-2021 school year requires collaboration and shared responsibilities among students, educators and families.

School Calendar

Make sure you know important dates on the 2020-2021 academic calendar. There are no printed calendars; you may view the online calendar and/or download printable calendar PDFs on our website. The calendar is subject to change. The online calendar reflects the most recent version. Users also may add our online calendar to their own mobile/online calendar by following the directions online.


All incoming kindergarteners and students new to the school system must be registered prior to the first day of school. Enrollment requirements can be found online. To begin the enrollment process, complete the online registration form. While completing the online registration form, you can also upload the required documents. Your child’s school will contact you to schedule a virtual meeting to complete the registration process.

Emergency Card Procedures with Family File

HCPSS utilizes Family File for parents/guardians to complete emergency information. Regardless of virtual or in-person learning, parents/guardians must verify and/or update information for each child. Parents/guardians can complete Family File by logging in to HCPSS Connect selecting the More Options tab on the left and then selecting Family File in the center column. Family File guides are available online.

Student Schedules

Student schedules will be available for viewing in Synergy on Tuesday, September 1, and will be posted in Canvas Saturday, September 5.

School Meals

Meals will be provided at no cost to any HCPSS student, and all children 18 and under, through December 31, 2020, subject to U.S. Department of Agriculture funding availability.

The food services program during the 2020-20201 first semester (Sept. 8, 2020-Jan. 28, 2021) will consist of Grab-and-Go meals served Monday through Friday from 8–9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m., beginning Tuesday, September 8. Breakfast and lunch can be picked up at either meal time.

Many families are eligible to participate in the FARMs program, which helps families save money and opens access to many resources and discounts, including testing fees, tuition, internet and much more. Even if you don’t qualify for FARMs, students may be eligible for additional opportunities. View program details and learn how to apply.

Collection and Distribution of Materials

HCPSS schools have begun the process of collecting materials used by students during the 2019-2020 school year and distributing materials for use during the 2020-2021 school year.

School Supplies

All elementary schools will use a single supply list, as will all middle schools. Supplies have been reduced to keep costs down for families and reflect those most essential for virtual learning, and by leveraging Canvas and other digital tools as much as possible. High schools do not have general supply lists, as classes may have unique requirements. High school students will be informed of any necessary supplies at the start of the school year.

Back to School Nights

2020-2021 Back to School Nights will be held via Google Meet. Parents/guardians will receive details and information from their child’s school. All dates are subject to change. Please check with your child’s school prior to the event to verify the event date and time.


All children must have the required State of Maryland immunizations in order to attend school. The Maryland Department of Health has not lifted the requirement for immunizations, which are still required for entry into school and are vital for children’s overall health and wellness. At this time, the state has not given any exemption to families in districts utilizing virtual instruction. Details can be found online.

HCPSS Connect

HCPSS Connect provides access to a variety of student information and classroom instructional tools offering personalized communication and timely, relevant and easily accessible information relating to your student. Parents/guardians may log in via HCPSS Connect to access and update Family File, indicate device/internet needs, view report cards and more.

Staying In Touch


HCPSS News emails and text alerts keep families up-to-date on news and events, and delivers real-time notices of emergency closings and information. All HCPSS News subscriptions are generated from the information provided in Family File and have been automatically updated for the 2020-2021 school year. Parents/guardians of previously enrolled HCPSS students do not need to sign up for, or manage an HCPSS News account. Parents/guardians new to the system are automatically enrolled for email notification, and must opt in to text alerts.

Emergency Notifications

In times of emergency situations, information will be shared with the community through our website, social media, text, email and weather hotline. All parents automatically receive email messaging and new parents need to opt in to text messaging (see above). Unsubscribing from any school or district email or text will unsubscribe a user from all messaging, including emergency notifications.

HCPSS Mobile Application

The HCPSS mobile app delivers HCPSS system and school news (filterable to see news only from specific schools), upcoming events, school menus, information from Board of Education meetings, and direct connections to all system social media resources. The free HCPSS app is available on iTunes and Google Play.

Social Media Accounts

HCPSS has active accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, many of our schools use social media to communicate to their communities. Check with your school for details.