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.
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.