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At its work session January 26, 2021, the Howard County Board of Education approved a phased-in hybrid model for students to return to school in person. The approved model will bring students back to in-person instruction over the course of four phases beginning March 1, 2021. All students will have the option to continue receiving fully virtual instruction.

The Board’s action follows the direction provided by Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon on Thursday, January 21, 2021, that all public school systems shall return to in-person learning by March 1, 2021. The Maryland Educational Code provides authority to the State Superintendent to enforce the State’s educational laws and ensure that districts are adhering to the decisions made by the State.

The approved dates for students who choose to return in-person are:

  • Week of March 1: Students identified for a program that will provide in-person instruction up to 5 days per week (including, but not limited to students receiving Special Education services, and others requiring additional learning support). Families who were previously invited to participate in school-based learning centers will receive an invitation to participate beginning March 1.
  • Week of March 15: Students in grades prekindergarten, Kindergarten, 1 and 2 return in a hybrid model.
  • Week of March 29: Students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, and those who participate in Career and Technical Education at ARL return in a hybrid model.
  • Week of April 12: Students in grades 7, 8, 10 and 11 return in a hybrid model.

Students whose parents/guardians opt for them to participate in the in-person hybrid option will attend school in-person for a maximum two days per week and participate virtually for the remainder of the week, with the exception of those identified to return on March 1. HCPSS will strive to offer students two days per week of in-person learning. However, if the number of requests exceeds capacity, due to social distancing requirements, it may be possible that HCPSS offers only one in-person day per week.

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Additional information and more details on implementation will be provided to parents/guardians, staff and the community this week. Parents/guardians will receive details on choosing the instructional model for their children, as well as whether or not they will use transportation services. Staff will receive details in a separate email. Please be patient as HCPSS finalizes staff and family surveys and updates the website.

The Board discussed several details related to the hybrid model, staffing, and protocols to ensure health and safety when students and staff return to buildings. Documents related to the Board’s work session may be found online.

Image shared by HCPSS on Twitter

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Some other important dates on the HCPSS Calendar: https://www.hcpss.org/calendar/

  • April 2 – 6: Spring Break
  • April 14: End of 3rd Period Marking

Scott E