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Spring Break Message from the Superintendent, April 1, 2021

April 1st, 2021

The following statement was issued to Howard County Public School System families by HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano on April 1, 2021:

As we head into spring break, I want to take stock of where we are and how we can continue on the path to returning to expanded in-person opportunities.

I commend all of the students, staff and families who have done their part throughout our phased-in return to follow the safety protocols that maintain a healthy school environment. Through our partnership with the Howard County Health Department and Johns Hopkins Medicine, over 99% of our staff who wish to receive the vaccine have been vaccinated with at least a first dose, and we are assisting any additional staff who wish to receive it as soon as they are able to do so. We are nearing the end of the delayed fall athletics season and looking forward to the upcoming spring season; the return of many other extracurricular activities, including music and clubs; and graduation ceremonies. At the same time, we are preparing to provide robust summer acceleration and recovery options, and striving for a return to in-person instruction five days per week for all students in the fall, as well as a new Digital Education Center option for those who wish to remain virtual for the full 2021-2022 school year.

It took a strategic and collaborative effort to achieve the progress we made in the face of unprecedented challenges, and I am pleased with where we are as a school system.

I am encouraged, and at the same time know that much of our hard work could be undone if we, as a community, don’t remain vigilant in following health and safety protocols. Spring break is traditionally a time when many families travel out-of-state or enjoy large get-togethers with family and friends. As a father of three children and three grandchildren, I wish for nothing more than to hug each of them and join them around the dinner table. I am optimistic that this will be possible again soon.

Vaccine distribution continues throughout the county, state and nation. More and more, we are finding opportunities to return to restaurants, stores and entertainment venues; I can even look forward to catching a few games this summer at Camden Yards or Nationals Park. I am energized by the recent conversations with the Board of Education about opening our schools five days a week in the fall.

To achieve these desired realities, we must be patient during this difficult time when our hearts urge us to socialize. Please continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and follow all health and safety best practices during spring break and all other times.

Following the same healthy practices for just a while longer, will help to ensure that more and more opportunities will be available to us. Please continue to do your part for the health and wellness of our students and school communities. Together, we can make sure that HCPSS is able to move forward with students returning safely to in-person instruction and activities without any more disruption.

Have a wonderful and relaxing break. I look forward to seeing staff and students virtually and in person next week.