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HCPSS to Remain Virtual Through April 14, 2021; Will Enhance In-Person Small Group Options

November 17th, 2020

During its work session on Monday, November 16, 2020, the Howard County Board of Education voted to continue the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) in a virtual instructional model through the third academic quarter, which ends April 14, 2021. Additionally, the Board instructed the Superintendent and staff to explore possibilities for expanding and enhancing in-person small group program offerings, with consideration for staff preferences regarding participation. Small group in-person programs serve the needs of students who most benefit from face-to-face instruction and support.

On October 22, the Board adopted the health metrics that would indicate when students and staff could safely begin to return to school buildings in a hybrid format. After extended discussion during yesterday’s work session, the Board elected not to approve the proposed hybrid model, which had been targeted for implementation for the second semester, pending acceptable health metrics at that time.

Separately from this decision, HCPSS had previously announced the suspension of all in-person small group opportunities due to the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in Howard County. The decision will be reevaluated on November 30 and, assuming health metrics are more favorable, small groups may resume on or after December 3. Once in-person programs resume, HCPSS will consider opportunities for expanding and enhancing these programs, taking into consideration health metrics and staff availability. Currently, the number of face-to-face program offerings is limited by the availability of staff, which is not sufficient to meet the level of interest among families.

During the work session, HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano reiterated HCPSS’ commitment for providing a robust virtual instructional model and expanding in-person small group opportunities for our most vulnerable students.