An Important Message from HCPS LEARN MORE

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HCPStogether

HCPS is meeting with employees, parents/guardians, and community stakeholders to create a plan of action for our students and staff as we begin a new school year. The efforts outlined in this plan illustrate a proactive approach to both virtual and in-person learning.

As we move forward, we are following closely the decisions and announcements made by Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon. As we progress and restrictions change, we will adjust our course of action while making every effort to maintain the highest level of safety for the health and well-being of our students and staff.

Continuity of Learning Plan

Additional Documents

State Resources
  1. Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery
  2. Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education
  3. MSDE Reopening Maryland Schools K-12 Decision Matrix
Local Resources
  1. Khan Academy
HCPS Resources
  1. Student Health Guidelines
  2. Acknowledgement Letter
  3. Academic Tutoring

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

2020-2021 School Year

  1. What are the plans for reopening HCPS in the fall?

    As shared in the most recent version of the HCPS Recovery Plan, all instruction during the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year will be virtual. HCPS will be implementing a modified plan that relies exclusively on virtual learning while providing opportunities for students who need a safe, supervised place to access virtual instruction at HCPS Learning Support Centers.

    iPads will be provided for all prekindergarten students, Chromebooks will be provided for all students in grades K-8, and Windows-based laptops will be provided for all students in grades 9-12. All teachers will receive a Windows-based laptop. HCPS is currently undertaking trials of cellular hotspots, to ensure students have Internet access in underserved areas by cable providers. In addition, we are making dramatic upgrades to our curriculum and professional development to ensure virtual instruction is more interactive and engaging than during the Spring of 2020.

    To address the needs of students who require a safe place to access virtual instruction, we are offering a limited number of spaces in HCPS Learning Support Centers at each of our schools where students will be supervised by an HCPS employee and have reliable access to the Internet. Learning Support Centers will be open on all days when school is in session, as noted in the 2020-2021 Parent-Student Handbook Calendar. Please note that the HCPS employees staffing the Learning Support Centers will not be the children's classroom teachers, and your child’s assigned Learning Support Center location may differ from their assigned school.

  2. What are Learning Support Centers?

    While attending an HCPS Learning Support Center, students will receive virtual instruction from their teacher working from a remote location. These students will have access to bus transportation and food and nutrition services. Please note that meal distribution sites will be utilized throughout the county for those students who do not attend Learning Support Centers but still need access to meals.

    Social distancing guidelines and face coverings will be required in Learning Support Centers in accordance with current state and local health department guidance. Progress and plans will be communicated with families via the Blackboard Connect5 mass notification system, HCPS social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) and www.hcps.org, as well as during Board of Education meetings.

  3. When will I know if my child is approved to attend a Learning Support Center?

    Confirmation letters will be mailed and emailed to parents in August 2020.

  4. What will the daily schedule be for students this fall?

    To view the elementary, middle and high school schedules for the fall, click here.

    Our goal is for teachers to connect with students each day like they would in a traditional in-person learning experience. Elementary school students participating in synchronous learning will interact with their teacher and classmates throughout the school day. Middle and high school students can expect a regular schedule where they connect with teachers and their classmates every day.

  5. What is the timeline for key decisions? When will parents be notified?

    July 2020

    • A HCPS Parent Academy Town Hall Q&A event about our Recovery Plan was held via Microsoft Teams on Wednesday, July 15, at 5:30 p.m.
    • Families were presented with an intention form for Fall 2020, to indicate in-person classroom learning or virtual learning options specific to their student(s).

    August 2020

    • Publish a finalized Continuity of Learning Plan
    • A third phase of reopening HCPS buildings began on Monday, August 17.
    • Communicate technology distribution plan for all students and staff.
    • Communicate student schedules for all levels.
    • Provide a virtual orientation for students and families on virtual learning tools and resources.
  6. How do I register my child for the 2020-2021 school year?

    Online registration is available for incoming students in grades K-12. Visit the 'Register for School' page (found under the 'Parents' tab) on www.hcps.org for more information. Information about early entrance, advanced placement, transfers, and more, is also available on the 'Register for School' page on www.hcps.org.

  7. Will students receive materials of instruction and textbooks for virtual instruction?

    Yes, students will receive additional materials to support instruction. Materials to support instruction will be distributed when students pick-up devices. Families will receive schedules and information about when to pick-up devices and materials from their schools in August.

  8. Will gifted and talented students continue to receive support?

    Students who have been identified as gifted and talented (GT) will continue to receive GT services during the distance learning model. Specialists will work with identified teachers and students to provide academic and affective programming to meet the students' needs through co-teaching and small group instruction.

  9. How will students in Magnet and Signature Programs participate in required hands-on learning?

    Planning teams are working on developing curriculum that will engage students in project-based learning and other ways to make the student experience as hands-on as possible. Curriculum writers are working to create engaging and innovate experiences for all magnet and signature students.

  10. I am a parent who is required to work outside of the home and cannot support synchronous learning. Is asynchronous learning (learning that does not occur in real time with a teacher) an option for working parents?

    HCPS is working on a plan to offer asynchronous learning opportunities for families for the 2020-2021 school year. While some features of live, synchronous instruction from a teacher will be limited, families and students will be able to access the curriculum and critical content pacing charts in the itslearning platform on their own time, including mornings, afternoons, evenings, and/or weekends. More details will be provided in the coming weeks, including parent/guardian training on itslearning and iPads, Chromebooks, and Windows-based laptops for students. If your child is attending a Learning Support Center, all students will participate in synchronous learning (real-time interaction between the teacher and students).

  11. Will school nurses be available in Learning Support Centers in the fall?

    Yes, school nurses will be available in all Learning Support Centers to conduct monitoring and surveillance. In the event that a student or staff member becomes ill with COVID-19, or a COVID-19 like illness, school nurses will adhere to the latest Maryland Department of Health (MDH) guidance regarding isolation and quarantine procedures including but not limited to: following the Decision Tree matrix provided by MDH to determine appropriate course of action; partnering with the Harford County Health Department (HCHD) to identify and notify close contacts; and determining school cleaning and closing decisions based on the latest guidance from the state and local health department. HCPS Health Services will collaborate with the HCHD to assist with appropriate contact tracing measures.

Technology

  1. What are HCPS plans to make sure all students, prekindergarten through grade 12, and staff have access to technology in the fall?

    All HCPS students in grades K–12 will be provided a mobile device for the 2020-2021 school year. HCPS Office of Technology technicians have re-imaged and prepped the previously used 1:1 devices from grades 5, 6 and 8. These Windows-based laptops, along with a power adapter, will be re-deployed for students in grades 9-12. New Chromebooks have been purchased for students in grades K-8. iPads will be provided to all prekindergarten students.

    To accommodate remote, synchronous learning, all teachers will receive a Windows-based laptop.

    As HCPS prepares for the large deployment of devices, the Office of Technology is developing a plan to maintain social distancing for the safety of staff and families. Schools will notify parents/guardians pick-up dates and times. Devices and other instructional materials may be picked up during these times. The Student Mobile Device Agreement details the student’s responsibilities, identifies the device provided, and requires a signature from both the student and parent/guardian.

  2. How will HCPS help families obtain internet access this fall that do not wish to attend a Learning Support Center?

    HCPS has submitted a grant application to the Maryland Governor's Office of Rural Broadband for funding to address broadband access to unserved students. If awarded funds, HCPS will purchase cellular hotspots for students who do not have the ability to obtain broadband Internet access at their home. To comply with the FCC mandate, Internet access through the hotspots will be filtered. The grant funds only extend through December 2020, at which time, HCPS will cover the monthly fee for the balance of instruction delivered virtually.

  3. Will HCPS teachers receive training this summer and be prepared to offer digital learning in the fall, if needed?

    Yes, HCPS leadership is working on developing a series of professional development and learning opportunities for teachers throughout the summer of 2020, in the fall, and continuing throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Curriculum writers are working to develop curriculum for classroom and digital learning environments.

  4. Will parents/guardians receive training this summer to help prepare to support our children’s distance and digital learning in the fall, if needed?

    Yes, HCPS leadership is working on developing a parent/guardian orientation and webinars that will be available for parents/guardians through the HCPS Parent Academy, as well as through Learn with Me events in August 2020 and throughout the 2020-2021 school year. More information will be shared in August 2020.

  5. How will HCPS ensure students are safe and secure while working online?

    The HCPS Office of Technology will have the capability to monitor Google's G-Suite portal which provides information on students' activity with their Chromebook. Similarly, Microsoft's Office 365 and InTune portals will provide information on Windows-based devices. Additional tools, such as Cisco's Security Umbrella service, will also provide tracking data on student's web usage.

PreK and K

  1. Will HCPS offer PreK in the fall?

    HCPS will offer virtual learning for prekindergarten in the fall.

  2. I'm concerned about my child starting school as a kindergartner virtually. What will my child's school do to make sure that my kindergarten student has a great start to their school career?

    The HCPS Curriculum Office, along with lead teachers, have created a 40-week scope and sequence of critical content for all academic areas. The critical content aligns with the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MDCCRS). HCPS is dedicated to supporting student learning and growth. Virtual lessons have been designed to support our youngest learners. In addition, teachers will work diligently to bond with their students, build positive relationships and supply interactive and engaging lessons.

  3. Can I hold back my 5-year-old child and enroll him/her in kindergarten for the 2021-2022 School Year?

    Yes, parents/guardians may complete and submit a kindergarten one-year maturity waiver available online here or contact the local elementary school.

  4. When can I expect to receive my kindergarten child’s student ID?

    Elementary school staff are responding to registration requests promptly. When registering, remember to make an appointment with the school to complete the registration process.

Athletics and Activities

  1. What is the status of the fall sports season?

    The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) in consultation with the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Public School Superintendent Association of Maryland announced today that the 2020 high school fall and winter competition seasons will be postponed.

    MPSSAA is working with all groups to create a plan focused on alternative ways to provide engaging opportunities for students in the first semester and modified competition seasons for all sports during the second semester. Details of this plan will be available prior to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.

    In alignment with this announcement, HCPS will postpone all face-to-face athletic conditioning, practices, and competitions for the fall and winter seasons. We will continue to work to provide opportunities for our student athletes to engage in a virtual environment.

  2. Will schools offer clubs and activities for students virtually?

    HCPS has a team working on all possibilities surrounding fall activities. More information will be shared with parents/guardians and students soon.

Facilities

  1. Are HCPS schools and offices open to visitors?

    Central Office is open to visitors as of June 17, 2020. Please make sure you first have an appointment and sign-in when entering the main lobby of the building. If you DO NOT have any of the symptoms listed on the visitor sign-in sheet and have answered “NO” to the “close contact” question:

    • Complete and sign the sign-in sheet. *
    • You may then physically report to your appointment.

    If you DO have any of the symptoms listed on the visitor sign-in sheet OR have answered “YES” to the “close contact” question:

    • Please exit the building.
    • Notify the party you had an appointment with.

    Symptoms

    • Fever (Temperature of 100˚ F or higher)
    • Cough
    • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
    • Chills
    • Muscle Pain
    • Sore Throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
      OR
    • Any other flu-like symptoms

    Close Contact Question

    Have you been in close prolonged contact with someone with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, without using infection protection and control precautions?

    Close prolonged contact is defined as being less than six feet apart from another person for a period longer than 15 minutes.


    *HCPS encourages use of personal pens. Disinfectant wipes are supplied for communal pens.

    As of August 2020, access to schools and school offices continues to be limited. All HCPS schools have now posted on their webpage contact information for staff. Please visit www.hcps.org, click on ‘About Us,’ then ‘Our Schools’ and select your individual school website.

  2. Will use of school grounds be allowed?

    HCPS outdoor spaces are open to the public. Effective June 17, due to COVID-19, Use of Facilities (UOF) applications will be accepted for outdoor use only. Prior to the approval of a UOF application, a COVID-19 Plan must be sent by the organization requesting use of an HCPS facility. Individuals and requesting organizations must adhere to social distancing guidelines while on school grounds.

Family Support and Resources

  1. How will families access meals during the fall?

    Virtual - Meal sites, like the current summer meal program, will be operational in certain areas of the county. Guidance from MSDE and USDA will regulate the procedures involved and may vary from the current service model.

    Learning Support Centers – The National School Lunch and Breakfast Program will be available to all students. Meal benefit applications will be accepted and processed. Current standard operating procedures including wearing of gloves and face coverings will continue and kitchens and serving areas will be disinfected throughout the day. Enhanced safety measures related to student meal service, including student handwashing and appropriate sanitation measures for touch contact surfaces used by students during meal service will continue. HCPS will be observing cleaning and sanitation protocols provided by MSDE and the Harford County Health Department.

  2. Who can I contact if I have concerns about my child’s mental health or need assistance this fall?

    HCPS Student Support Services staff will provide support to students both in-person and virtually. In addition, the HCPS Emotional Recovery Team has put together a vast resource of activities to support the social and emotional well-being of students, which will be accessible to parents/guardians, students, and staff. Parents/Guardians and students can access resources that exist within their assigned school, school counselor, social worker, school psychologist, trusted teacher or administrator. From one of those access points families can either be served by HCPS staff or referred to a community resource.

    Parents and students can also reach out to Christina Alton, LCSW-C, HCPS Mental Health Specialist, christina.alton@hcps.org or e-mail mentalhealthsupport@hcps.org .The mental health support e-mail inbox is monitored by a school social worker.

    In the event of a mental health emergency, families should call 911. 911 .

    The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center is also an option for mental health support. Families can call 1-800-NEXT-STEP or 410-874-0711 . The walk-in clinic is located at 802 Baltimore Pike in Bel Air and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    Families are encouraged to continue to seek guidance and referral from their physicians.

  3. Will school nurses be available in Learning Support Centers in the fall?

    Yes, school nurses will be available in all Learning Support Centers to conduct monitoring and surveillance. In the event that a student or staff member becomes ill with COVID-19, or a COVID-19 like illness, school nurses will adhere to the latest Maryland Department of Health (MDH) guidance regarding isolation and quarantine procedures including but not limited to: following the Decision Tree matrix provided by MDH to determine appropriate course of action; partnering with the Harford County Health Department (HCHD) to identify and notify close contacts; and determining school cleaning and closing decisions based on the latest guidance from the state and local health department. HCPS Health Services will collaborate with the HCHD to assist with appropriate contact tracing measures.

  4. Where can I find childcare or an after-school program for my child?

    For free, personalized service, contact a LOCATE: Child Care Referral Specialist by calling 877-261-0060 Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. A Referral Specialist can help find childcare options based on your family’s specific needs.

    https://locate.marylandfamilynetwork.org/Family/login

    HCPS is also working with providers to determine their availability to support before and after school services for families at the HCPS Learning Support Centers.

Special Education

  1. What supports are being supplied for students with special needs this fall?

    The families of students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be contacted by HCPS special education staff to discuss the needs of individual students. Special education staff will: collaborate with families to address student learning needs during the transition to the 2020-2021 school year; prioritize face-to-face assessments to inform eligibility and shape goals in the student’s IEP; collect student data to inform student progress and identify opportunities for recovery; complete on-going monitoring of student progress and communicate with families, teachers, and service providers; convene virtual IEP meetings whenever necessary to address student needs, amend or revise IEP goals based on student progress; and partner with families, the Special Education Citizens Advisory Council, other community supports, and staff to proactively provide and respond to student needs.

  2. How will needs assessments occur for students with disabilities or suspected disabilities in a virtual learning environment?

    Face-to-Face testing will begin in August and will continue into the 2020-2021 school year. HCPS related services staff will begin contacting the families of students with disabilities or suspected disabilities who require a Face-to-Face assessment to schedule these assessments. Proper safety protocols have been established and will be utilized to minimize health risks to students and staff throughout the assessment process. Parents/Guardians will be given the option to proceed with or decline the offer of Face-to-Face testing. Families who decline will be contacted by their child’s case manager to schedule an IEP meeting.

  3. What is Child Find? How can I contact them for support?

    Child Find is a special education service provided by HCPS to identify children with disabilities, birth to age 21, who are suspected of having an educational disability and may need special education and related services. Child Find services are supplied year-round, at no-cost. Preschool children living in Harford County who are not enrolled in a preschool program, as well as children ages 3-21 attending an MSDE approved private/parochial school located in Harford County, are eligible to receive Child Find services.

    The HCPS Child Find process includes referral, prescreening to determine the need for assessment, a first evaluation or reevaluation to determine eligibility, and the development of an IEP or Service Plan upon eligibility for special education services. This process begins with a referral to the HCPS Child Find Center started by the parent/guardian or by an individual familiar with the child’s development (with parent/guardian consent). Parents/Guardians of children enrolled in HCPS, should contact their local school if they suspect their child may have a disability requiring special education services.

    For more information related to Child Find, contact the HCPS Child Find Center at 410-638-4386 or 410-638-4387 .

    Parents/Guardians of children, who are not yet three years old, may contact the Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program at 410-638-3823 for inquiries about accessing services.

Grading and Reporting

  1. Will teachers take attendance? How will I let the school know my child is “absent” from school?

    School staff will communicate with parents/guardians regarding student absences and many of the typical interventions to address absenteeism will be in place during the virtual learning model. Additionally, parents/guardians will be permitted to submit absence notes electronically.

  2. How will students be graded on their assignments this fall?

    Students will be graded for their schoolwork with teachers providing direct and timely feedback to students. The Home Access Center (HAC) will be utilized to monitor student progress and to publish report cards at the end of the first and second quarter for all students in grades K-12. PreK students will receive a report card via email. Elementary schools will not hold their traditional parent/teacher conferences at the conclusion of the first quarter. All grades will be reported as dictated in the HCPS Board of Education policy entitled Report Cards and Marking System.

    Parents/Guardians who have technical difficulties establishing a HAC account should contact HomeAccessCenter@hcps.org for assistance. Parents/Guardians with students in middle and high school should contact their school counselor with non-technical questions.

Class of 2021

  • When will senior pictures take place?

    Senior pictures are taking place throughout the summer at all high schools. Parents/Guardians and students should contact their school for specific dates.

  • Will students receive help/support to prepare college applications this fall?

    Students wanting assistance with college materials should contact their individual/home school. School counseling offices will be open in the fall. School counselors will be able to support the college application process virtually and through Naviance, focusing on the vision of North Star through college and career readiness.

  • How can students find out about SAT’s?

    SAT’s are being administered in our schools. Please visit the College Board website to register: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat

HCPS Employees

  • How can 10-month HCPS employees receive updates throughout the summer?

    All HCPS staff related announcements and updates will be shared via the HCPS 411 Update this summer. HCPS 10-month employees are encouraged to monitor their email regularly for updates throughout the summer months.

Equity

  • How will HCPS work to ensure equitable practices and structures are in place for the 2020-2021 school year?

    HCPS is addressing equity, guided by the four focus areas identified by MSDE: Academic Achievement and Growth, Leadership and Human Capital, School Climate and Culture, and Educator and Staff Capacity. This includes using an equity lens to strategically monitor and evaluate curriculum that supports the academic achievement of all students, working to attract and retain a diverse faculty and staff, and providing professional development on digital teaching and learning, disproportionate discipline, implicit bias, culturally responsive practices, and social emotional learning. HCPS will continue to monitor every policy, practice, and process for its impact on every student to ensure an equitable environment for all.

  • My child fell behind last school year and struggled with their learning at the end of the year. How can I find a tutor for my child?

    HCPS offered academic tutoring to students throughout the summer. The intent of this tutoring is to ensure that students enter their next grade level or sequential course with the necessary pre-requisite skills and knowledge. HCPS is studying the possibility of continuing tutoring to students this fall, to continue to address gaps in learning. More information will be shared with parents at the start of the school year.

Transportation

  1. Will bus transportation change for students in the fall?

    Service Model:
    The HCPS service model for bus transportation will continue to follow the same guidelines for bus routing and bus stop information as we did prior to COVID-19. The only change will be that your student(s) schedule may vary depending on the school schedule. Students should only ride the bus on the scheduled day(s); assigned to them by the school. See bus information here: http://www.infofinderi.com/ifi/?cid=HCPS3HATZU1H2

    COVID-19 Transportation Guidance:
    HCPS will follow the guidance provided by Maryland Association of Pupil Transportation in conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Transportation.