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Coronavirus 2019 Updates

3/19/2020 – Comcast Internet Essentials

To help connect more families to the internet at home, Comcast is offering two months of free internet to new Internet Essential customers. The Comcast program is open to Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs) program participants, or those eligible for FARMS. Details online.

3/16/2020 – Public Health Volunteers

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is looking for additional medical and non-medical volunteers to support COVID-19 response. The MRC is used to augment existing public health and medical staffing for flu clinics and other activities within the Howard County Health Department, as well as emergencies or disasters regardless of cause. For more information contact Lauren Williams at 410-313-6271 or

3/16/2020 – Work-Based Learning

Social distancing is critical to slow the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. As such, all students enrolled in Apprenticeship Work-Based Learning, G/T Intern/Mentor, Transition Activities, Career and Technical Education (CTE) internships at ARL or as part of Career and Research Development (CRD) will not participate in any on-site work associated with these courses until schools reopen.

3/16/2020 – Community Supports

We appreciate the offers of help from our community. Please contact the Partnerships Office about opportunities to support students once schools are reopened. In the meantime, the Howard County Food Bank, American Red Cross and other local charities would welcome your support during this pandemic.

3/16/2020 – Counseling Services for Students/Families/Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this an especially stressful time for many, especially those already impacted by mental health concerns. In-person assistance may be limited to try to slow the spread of the virus. However, help is still available online, over the phone, and face-to-face when needed. Please also note that Medicaid is covering temporary telehealth sessions during the state of emergency.

HCPSS employees and their family members have access to free, confidential, 24/7 services through our Staff Counseling and Support Services program. Employees can review dedicated coronavirus resources including tips for coping with uncertainty, health and safety resources, and guides for managers and employees to adjust to working remotely.

If you or your family need mental health supports, please contact your current health care provider. If you don’t have or cannot reach your current provider, you can find providers in the directories linked below.

If you have an immediate need for help with depression, suicidal thoughts, or other serious mental health issues, please contact:

  • Grassroots Crisis Intervention team at 410-531-6677
  • The Maryland Crisis Hotline: Dial 211 and then choose option 1
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 and a trained counselor will respond
  • The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255

Additional resources:

3/12/2020 – High School State Basketball Championships Update

Update: 2:00 PM – The Boys and Girls State Basketball Tournaments, which were scheduled for Thursday, March 12 through Saturday, March 14, have been postponed until further notice. Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) will post more information as it becomes available.

3/11/2020 – Middle School Countywide Debate Canceled

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has canceled all events for external organizations until further notice. As such, the HCPSS Middle School Countywide Debate scheduled for March 13, 2020, at that location, is canceled.

3/10/2020 – Field Trips Reimbursements

HCPSS understands that the decision to cancel out-of-state field trips is not convenient and causes disruption for many students and families. We have received numerous inquiries about potential refunds.

As stated on the field trip permission forms, HCPSS is not responsible for any financial loss related to the cancelation of a field trip, however, please know that our staff is working diligently with our vendors over the next several days to attempt to secure refunds for canceled field trips. HCPSS cannot provide refunds without receiving refunds from individual vendors. Any funds recovered will then be disbursed to families accordingly. There is no guarantee that all vendors will provide reimbursement and we ask for your patience as staff works through this process.

If you have any questions or concerns specific to your child’s field trip, please contact your principal.

3/10/2020 – Gifted and Talented Intern/Mentor Program Update

On March 10, 2020, HCPSS staff learned that the University of Maryland Medical Center communicated with parents and students directly to share that, as a safety precaution, beginning March 11, students would be required to work on applicable research at home or at school, based on the student contract. Staff also learned that the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physic Lab (APL), within the next day, will issue guidance to our students that students may continue to work onsite at the APL location. We will share that guidance once we receive correspondence.

The Office of Gifted and Talented Education continues to monitor our community partnership and will provide immediately information to schools, students, and families if changes emerge.

3/10/2020 – Howard Community College Update Impacting JumpStart Students

Howard Community College (HCC) has canceled classes on Thursday, March 12-Friday, March 13, in order to prepare the college for the possibility of moving classes online should the need arise for a longer closure of the HCC campus. Those two days will be used to train HCC’s faculty and staff on their online learning tools, and allow for planning time to update necessary course materials on HCC’s CANVAS.

HCC’s campus will remain open and all student services will be available March 12-13. Students who typically attend HCC are encouraged to go to campus and utilize the HCC resources, including the Learning Assistance Center. Alternatively, students can complete their HCC work from home or another remote location.

Due to the possibility of moving to online learning for HCC courses, HCPSS recommends that all Howard County public school students currently enrolled in on-campus courses prepare for this possibility. Part of HCC’s planning includes providing technology support for students who may not have connectivity from home. A point of contact will be provided for all HCPSS students should this become necessary.

HCC and HCPSS both are closely collaborating with state and local health departments to monitor the current COVID-19 situation in Howard County, and the potential impact on our shared school communities. Should HCC decide to cancel classes beyond this initial closure, we will share that information as well. You can find all HCC-related COVID–19 updates on the HCC website.