Parents of students in the Howard County Public School System (and in school systems all over the state) had been waiting on this announcement today. Dr. Karen Salmon (State Superintendent of Maryland Schools) extends the closing of schools through May 15th, saying that the school board will consider options for the rest of the school year. (see more below – items related to the school system are bolded):

Here is a summary of items discussed at the Governor Hogan’s press conference on April 17th from the twitter account of Kata D. Hall (@katadhall) – Deputy Communications Director & Senior Speechwriter:

1) Governor Hogan is holding a press conference outside of the state house in Annapolis. I will thread his announcements and new actions.

2) The governor is providing another update on state and regional #COVID19 case counts. Maryland has now surpassed 11,500 confirmed cases and there are more than 21,000 cases in the National Capital Region.

3) Gov Hogan: A bit of good news – the number of Marylanders who have recovered from the virus has risen by 22% this week.

4) CALL WITH REGIONAL LEADERS. This afternoon, the governor held a call with @GovernorVA and @MayorBowser to discuss regional response and a collaborative strategy for recovery.

5) WHITE HOUSE CALL. Governor Hogan thanks the president for committing to work together to secure additional critical relief for the states. NGA has requested federal stimulus to help address revenue shortfalls.

6) The governor says he is reviewing the president’s proposed recommendations for states to consider regarding the reopening of their states. Reiterates that Maryland is now laying the groundwork to reopen, rebuild, and recover as soon as it is safe to do so.

7) The governor discusses the four building blocks of MD recovery plan and says team is making significant progress on the following criteria:
-Expanding testing capacity
-Increasing hospital surge capacity
-Increasing supply of PPE
-Robust contact tracing operation

7a) The governor will provide an update on that progress early next week, and then later in the week will introduce the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’

8) The governor reminds Marylanders that beginning tomorrow morning, face coverings will be required inside retail establishments statewide and when riding public transportation: “This isn’t just about protecting yourself, it is about protecting your neighbor.”

9) COVID-19 LAYOFF AVERSION FUND. The governor announces that $8 million has been provided to 410 small businesses, which has helped more than 9,000 Marylanders keep their jobs.

10) MANUFACTURING GRANTS. The governor announces grants for 3 businesses to manufacture PPE:
-DVF Corporation (Washington County) to make parts for respirators
-Awesome Ninja Labs (Balt City) to make face shields
-NRL & Associates (Queen Anne’s) to ramp up ventilator production

11) PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM. Through PPP,
@mdbiz has approved $3.8 billion in loans to assist nearly 12,000 Maryland businesses.

12) **@MD_Labor is launching a new one-stop shop, comprehensive online application for independent contractors, self-employed Marylanders, and all other types of claims, including federal employees, multi-state wage claims, and military.

12a) This will ensure that every Maryland application will have the option of filing online, which will dramatically decrease call wait times and help Marylanders receive their benefits faster.

13) FOOD BANKS. The governor announces a state investment of $4 million to the Maryland Food Bank and the Capital Area Food Bank. This will be matched by local jurisdictions for a total commitment of $8 million.

14) SNAP BENEFITS. The Maryland Department of Human Services is working to dramatically accelerate implementation of our online SNAP pilot program, which will give families in need the opportunity to purchase meals online and have them delivered at no cost.

14a) Shop-Rite and Amazon have committed to waiving delivery fees to help make this initiative successful.

15) The governor recognizes the ‘Week of the Young Child’ in America. Thanks all of the child care providers, teachers, and staff for their hard work keeping Maryland children and students safe, healthy, and learning during this difficult and unprecedented time.

Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon: “After extensive consultation with the State Board of Education and leading public health experts in the state, I am extending the closure of schools through MAY 15TH.”

Dr. Salmon: “With regards to the remainder of the school year and the summer, we will use this time to examine every option, and continue to develop a long-term plan for recovery.”

Dr. Salmon: “After speaking with local superintendents this past week, school systems have also started to develop plans for additional digital learning and the recovery of any lost instructional time in the form of expanding summer school programs.”

Dr. Salmon: “State and local school officials are actively preparing for a number of scenarios depending on when our educators and students would be able to re-enter school buildings.”

Dr. Salmon: “We want seniors and their families to have the opportunity to recognize their wonderful accomplishments …Local superintendents have been working on a number of alternatives to ensure our high school seniors receive the recognition they deserve.”

Dr. Salmon: “I want to thank the teachers for their hard work and flexibility as they provide instruction to our over 900,000 students across the State…Recognize school system staff that provide support services to students such as counselors, psychologists and specialists.”

Dr. Salmon: “We continue to provide child care services to essential personnel at more than 3,700 State-funded sites across Maryland. Over 25,000 children of essential personnel are enrolled in these sites, and the State has the capacity to serve an additional 20,000.”

Dr. Salmon: “I am pleased that the State of Maryland has received an additional 45.8 million dollars from the federal CARES Act to support the maintenance of child care programs and continuation of child care services for essential personnel.”

Dr. Salmon: “As we celebrate the Week of the Child, I want to thank all those individuals providing child care who have dedicated their lives to children. You are all champions and we thank you for stepping up during this crisis.”

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I am sure Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) will follow up with an announcement later today (or very soon). I will have that announcement on the blog when I see it.

Watch the press conference here: https://www.facebook.com/GovLarryHogan/videos/661589701306380/

Scott E