The Howard County Board of Education approved the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Reopening Plan for the 2020-21 school year during its work session on Aug. 6. HCPSS will submit its plan to the Maryland State Department of Education for approval.

The HCPSS Reopening Plan, applicable only for the 2020-21 school year, fulfills the 13 requirements of the Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education and includes several additional items beyond those already approved by the Board on July 16. Highlights of the plan include:

  • Assessing the instructional level of students so teachers may provide students with appropriate supports during instruction to mitigate learning gaps experienced from the extended building closure. Multiple measures will be used by teachers to determine instructional levels and supports.
  • Aligning the virtual instructional model with Maryland College and Career Ready Standards for prekindergarten through grade 12 in all content areas by providing students with, on average, three hours of synchronous learning with their teachers four days each week. The remaining instructional time is designated for students to complete asynchronous learning activities and assignments.\
  • Detailing comprehensive supports to ensure equity, including tiered supports for mathematics and language arts, and supports for homeless students, English language learners, academic and behavior needs, and several other areas that support student success.
  • Providing early intervention and special education services to children and students from birth to age 21. Current Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students will guide the specially designed instruction and related and support services to be provided during virtual schooling and other opportunities for learning during the first semester of 2020-21.
  • Outlining criteria for tracking attendance and grading expectations when students are engaged in distance learning.
  • Developing a detailed communication and engagement strategy that sets clear expectations for cultivating awareness, understanding, support, and confidence in the planning and implementation efforts of the school system to develop an instructional plan for the 2020-21 school year in a transparent and comprehensive manner.

Additionally, the Reopening Plan document includes details about HCPSS plans for all aspects of the fall instructional program, and includes information related to student supports, including provisions for individualized or face-to-face sessions; career education, including dual enrollment programs; fall sports; digital instruction tools and student technology; professional learning for staff; maintaining health and safety; and student meal services. The Reopening Plan also includes provisions for supporting student and staff well-being; diversity, equity and inclusion; expectations for staff, students and families; and other components.

HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano shared that through additional grant funding and the reallocation of savings during the closure, HCPSS will now be able to secure a Chromebook for every student from pre-K through the 12th grade and have additional funds available within the contingency account to support the reopening plan.

The final plan and full details – including schedule information, resources for students and families, and answers to frequently asked questions – at