Update on In-Person, Small Group Programs, January 19, 2021

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 8:53am

On January 19, based on the continued unfavorable COVID-19 rates in Howard County, HCPSS is postponing the next possible date for in-person programs to resume to Monday, February 8, 2021. Additionally, due to the elevated trend in health metrics, HCPSS will not deliver the PSAT on January 26. Details on the PSAT may be found online.

Superintendent Michael J. Martirano recently announced plans for resuming existing in-person, small group programs in February 2021, as soon as Board of Education-approved health metrics signal that students and staff may safely begin to return to school buildings. Additionally, he outlined plans for gradually increasing the number of students served by in-person programs throughout the third academic quarter, as a bridge to a fourth quarter model with expanded in-person instruction.

To allow sufficient time for schools and families to prepare, the decision to resume in-person programs must be made two weeks in advance of the effective date, and will depend on an assessment of health metrics, as well as other factors. HCPSS leaders will reassess health metrics each week to determine the viability of program reopening. The decision regarding the next potential start date will be posted online, emailed to families and shared via HCPSS social media accounts.

Once the existing in-person programs resume, plans are in place to expand in-person offerings by providing one or more School-Based Learning Centers at every school. The centers are targeted to support students who are experiencing barriers to attendance and/or are struggling with virtual learning.

Student Identification Process

As schools prepare to expand their in-person program offerings, each school will identify students who would most benefit from the small group programs, and will reach out directly to their parents/guardians to provide detailed information and ask their interest in participating. Schools also will assess the availability of appropriate staff to support each program, based on anticipated student participation.

Additional Resources

  • HCPSS COVID-19 Dashboard: Provides information on positive cases affecting students, staff or visitors in schools or offices, and county-level data. The site is updated each Wednesday.
  • Howard County COVID-19 website: Provides information on COVID-19 in Howard County, including positivity rates, testing and vaccination details.
  • HCPSS In-Person, Small-Group Supports website: Provides details about program offerings, health and safety precautions, transportation services, answers to frequently-asked questions and additional information.
  • HCPSS 2020-2021 School Year website: Provides detailed information on items related to the current school year, including translations, spring planning, online safety and more.