HCPS 411 Update

April 2, 2020

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 and include:


  • ordered quarantine situations by governmental agency or healthcare provider for the employee or family member,
  • caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child-care provider is unavailable), or
  • any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.


Eligible Employees: All employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19. *Please note that pay will vary according to the specified reason.


For more information on The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), please see the attachment FFCRA poster.


If you feel that any of the above scenarios apply to you, please contact Joanna.Hewitt@hcps.org or Lisa.Patterson@hcps.org via email to obtain further information.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Reminder

During these uncertain times, our feelings of stress and anxiety may be elevated. It is important that we care for ourselves, as we care for others.


Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services continue to be available. KEPRO serves as the EAP for HCPS employees. Information regarding COVID-19, as well as links to other topics that may be of interest, is available via their website.


Your EAP services can be accessed by calling 1-866-795-5701 or via the internet at www.EAPHelpLink.com, just enter HCPS as your Company Code.


EAP counselors are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. We encourage you to utilize the resources available to you.

COVID-19 Updates on HCPS.ORG

A reminder that the COVID-19 page on hcps.org is updated with new information as soon as it becomes available, including FAQs, meal distribution locations and times, event and activity cancellations, local resources, and more. Please continue to check the page regularly for information.

Top Health Newsletter - April Issue

Click below for this month's full issue of the Top Health wellness newsletter from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

Growing Exceptional Teachers (GET) Program

The Growing Exceptional Teachers (GET) Program is a scholarship and recruitment program that provides financial assistance in the form of a student scholarship and hiring incentives to Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) high school graduating seniors selected to participate in the program. The purpose of providing this financial assistance is to allow program participants to complete their undergraduate degree in a high needs area of teacher education, with the ultimate goal of receiving their teacher certification and returning to work as a public school teacher right here in Harford County.


Available Scholarships:

Five (5) $6,000 scholarships will be awarded to HCPS high school graduating seniors planning to attend college and attain their teacher certification in one of the following teacher “critical shortage areas” identified by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and HCPS to include:


  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Professional and Technical Education
  • Science
  • Special Education
  • Technology Education
  • World Language
  • School Psychology


The application deadline has been extended to Friday, April 17, 2020. Teachers/School Counselors are encouraged to promote this application to eligible seniors. To access the application, please visit the HCPS Website > Students > Scholarships or by clicking the following link: GET Scholarship Application. Questions regarding this information should be directed to Donna Dean at Donna.Dean2@hcps.org.

Professional Development Announcements

Current Spring Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Sessions

  • Education That is Multicultural
  • Teacher Leadership
  • Engaging Students Through Novel Instructions


Under the current situation, we are waiting for some guidance from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Division of Educator Certification and Program Approval. We are to receive direction this week so we can then plan how we will move forward. Thank you for you understanding and patience. Questions or concerns can be directed to Lori.Gohlinghorst@hcps.org.


HCPS Book Studies

Many schools/departments are in the midst of book studies. Participants are welcome to continue to read the book while we work virtually. However, we must wait for guidance from MSDE regarding completing these credit-bearing activities before moving forward with additional directions for book study facilitators. School administrators wishing to structure a study should contact Lori Gohlinghorst at Lori.Gohlinghorst@hcps.org for more information. It is advised that the book study be set in HECTOR prior to facilitating course.


CPD Credits Through Thinkport

Earn MSDE CPD credits through online courses offered by Thinkport. There are offerings for Spring and late Spring.


SPA Credit

We have been able to move forward with the process for SPA team members and SPA facilitators to receive credit for the 2019-2020 school year. If you are a member of those school teams, you should expect to see email messages from our HECTOR system. This is our Professional Development Office working in the background. No action is needed on your part.

Retirewise® Workshop Series

Join your colleagues for the relevant, practical, and easy to understand Retirewise® workshop series. In just a few sessions, you could be on your way to creating a realistic financial and retirement plan that works for you. The Retirewise® workshop series from MetLife will be held via ZOOM.


When you attend a workshop, you can expect:


  • Objective information on a wide range of financial topics
  • To hear questions from your coworkers
  • Interactive exercises
  • A 280 page resource book that’s yours to keep
  • An opportunity for an optional personal consultation


Please see the linked flier for details on April sessions.

Reminder: Our Public Library is a Great Resource!

The Harford County Public Library offers a wide variety of free course and resources. You do need a library card to access, but if you don't have one, just click here to sign up online. More learning opportunities are listed on their website under 'For You.' Check out their website: www.hcplonline.org.

Shout Out!

"I want to give a “shout out” to our elementary lead secretaries. I sent out a critical survey on Sunday, March 29, at 8:00 p.m. stating I needed the responses ASAP. I had folks answering me up until almost 11:00 that night. The deadline was 3:30 the following day for all the data, and we made that deadline, thanks to these ladies!"


-Donna D. Dannenfelser, Administrative Support Coordinator – Education Services

Office of Communications and Family Outreach

Editor: Lindsay Bilodeau, communications specialist


To submit an HCPS Shout Out or recognize a colleague in the Spotlight on Customer Service, please email the information and photo (if available) to HCPS.411@hcps.org.