HCPS 411 Update

October 8, 2020

Employee Health Guidelines Related to COVID-19: Updated Information as of October 7, 2020

(Content Changes are in bold italics; previous update was September 30, 2020)

Guidance about COVID-19 is rapidly evolving; updates will be provided as needed.

All staff are expected to notify their supervisor as soon as they are made aware that they have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 or that they have been exposed to a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19. Employees must follow the guidance of healthcare providers, state

( https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/ ) and local ( https://harfordcountyhealth.com/ ) health departments.

Employees should follow all current State of Maryland state advisories including travel, if any are in effect at the time of travel. ( https://governor.maryland.gov/ ).

Reminder: All employees must sign in each time they enter an HCPS building. An electronic sign-in process is recommended where available.

What should an employee do who has chronic medical symptoms that mimic COVID-19 like symptoms?

Harford County Health Department guidance recommends that employees with asthma, allergies, or other chronic conditions that mirror COVID-19 like symptoms should seek evaluation and treatment from their health care provider. If chronic symptoms continue to exist following treatment, the employee may provide to Kathy DeHoff, Medical Case Manager, (Kathleen.Dehoff@hcps.org) a signed note from their physician that documents their specific, detailed diagnosis, baseline health, and triggers. The employee should retain a copy of the physician’s note to share only as needed with school nurses or other administrative personnel.

If the employee deviates from his/her medical baseline health or has additional COVID-19 like symptoms, the employee must go home or not come to work, contact their supervisor, and contact their healthcare provider.

Employees must review all assigned and required on-line training including “All Staff COVID-19 Safety Review” https://hcps-md.safeschools.com/training/home


  • It is a requirement that every employee complete a self-check, including temperature, before arriving to work.
  • If an employee has any COVID-19 symptoms including fever (100° F or greater) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea, the employee should stay home, notify their supervisor, and call their doctor.
  • If the employee becomes sick during the day, they must inform their supervisor and go home immediately. HCPS communication processes will be enacted, including alerting HR and determining additional precautionary steps for the worksite.
  • Employees cannot return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

Social Distancing and Masks:

All employees must practice social distancing and should maintain 6 feet between employees as work duties permit.

  • An employee’s mask must cover the nose and mouth. Masks are not a substitute for social distancing.
  • If you are alone in your private office/workspace, it is not necessary to wear a mask.
  • If you leave your desk to walk into an area where you may encounter another person, you must wear a mask. If a person comes into your office area and there is less than 6 feet, all parties must always have their masks on.
  • If you work in an area that interfaces with the public, masks must always be worn.
  • When in doubt, wear a mask. A cloth mask has been made available for every employee.
  • Employees must disinfect their office space after working without a mask.

Cleaning Guidelines:

  • Cleaning occurs at regular intervals during the day.
  • Employees may assist by disinfecting their personal areas and other communal areas such as door handles, shared equipment, communal work surfaces.
  • Employees must disinfect their office space after working without a mask.

Questions regarding employee benefits related to COVID-19, including leave, may be directed to Joanna.Hewitt@hcps.org or Lisa.Patterson@hcps.org.

Any questions pertaining to this memo may be directed to Kathy DeHoff, Medical Case Manager in Human Resources, at Kathleen.Dehoff@hcps.org.

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Parent Academy Real Talk: Return to In-Person Learning - Masks and Other Safety Precautions

During this Parent Academy Real Talk on Return to In-Person Learning, Mrs. Mary Nasuta, Supervisor of HCPS Health Services, and Mrs. Lynda Boegner, Clinical Health Bureau, Acting Director of the Harford County Health Department, provide parents/guardians an overview of best practices for facial coverings and what safety precautions will be in place as our students return to schools for in-person learning.
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Support for Setting up the Classroom for Hybrid Teaching and Learning Part II

Please find linked the UPDATED “Hybrid Teaching and Learning Scenarios” technology set up reference document and Part II, Hybrid Teaching and Learning Scenarios video (below). The purpose of this document and video is to provide guidance as staff prepare classrooms and technology to support the return to in-person teaching and learning. This document provides directions for the technology set up of three possible teaching scenarios. These scenarios are not all inclusive and may be personalized to be meet the needs of learners, teaching style and available technology. Be on the lookout for Part III of Hybrid Teaching and Learning: Tips and Strategies for Teachers.

Please note: Scenario 3 requires the use of an interactive whiteboard. Many of our Promethean Whiteboards require an update to either the teacher laptop or the actual Interactive Whiteboard for it to be interactive. In testing, if your Interactive Whiteboard crashes the laptop (blue screen) when you use the Promethean Pen on the Interactive Whiteboard, please add your name and room number to a list that can be found in your school’s office. The technician will follow up as they need to directly interact with the teacher laptop.

Return to In-Person Teaching and Learning: Hybrid Teaching and Learning Scenario

In-Person Learning FAQ for Elementary Teachers

The Elementary Teacher FAQ was developed to respond to the most frequently asked questions we’ve received from elementary teachers across the system. It provides information on topics related to elementary schedules, technology, asynchronous options and other items related to teaching and learning in the hybrid model.

Board of Education Meeting - October 12, 2020

The next Board of Education of Harford County Business Meeting will be held on October 12, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the A.A. Roberty Building with only Board Members, HCPS staff, and presenters in attendance. No public access will be permitted. The meeting will be streamed live and archived for later viewing on the HCPS website. Community members who wish to provide comments during the public comment segment of the meeting are required to register by completing this form: Public Comment Registration Form. For more information, please click here.

2020-2021 Salary Notification Letters

Annual salary letters for all HCPS employees are scheduled to be available by the Thanksgiving break. Notification will be placed in the Superintendent’s Bulletin and in HCPS 411 Update when letters are available.

As in years past, employees will be able to access their letter through Employee Self Service (ESS). For issues accessing ESS, please review the Employee Self Service Overview and Reference information or contact the Help Desk at x5242 for assistance.

State and National Conferences Slated for October 16, 2020

Teachers have the option of attending virtual state and/or national conferences, such as the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) Convention, for their professional learning on Friday, October 16, 2020. Teachers who plan on attending a conference in lieu of participating in school-based professional development activities should notify their principal and/or supervisor in advance and be able to provide evidence of attendance afterwards. Teachers are responsible for three (3) hours of professional learning on this date, so evidence of attendance should reflect a minimum of that time.

Questions about this information can be directed to HCPSProfessionalLearning@hcps.org.

October's Mental Health Minute Presented by Erinn Ragan

This year, the 2020 HCPS Teacher of the Year Finalists, dubbed the "QuaranTEAM 5," would like to shine a light on mental health issues and maintaining mental well-being. Our finalists will research ideas and consult with mental health professionals, in order to share helpful tips and strategies for building better mental health in our professional community. Each month, this information will be shared through a Mental Health Minute. Take a moment to watch the October issue of Mental Health Minute.
Monthly Minute with Erinn Ragan

Coming Soon!

Harford County Public Schools is proud to announce a very special opportunity for our school community. HCPS has worked with IndieFlix, a leading independent online streaming platform, along with its non-profit arm, the IndieFlix Foundation, to offer a multi-day virtual screening of the of the documentary, “Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety.” In the movie, children and young adults speak openly about their experiences with anxiety. The movie also features a candid discussion with World Champion swimmer Michael Phelps, in which he discusses his experience with anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge in the U.S., impacting 54 percent of females and 46 percent of males, with age seven being the median age of onset, according to the World Health Organization. While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only one-third of those suffering receive treatment. It is hoped that after viewing this movie, hearing from movie participants, and seeing their bravery, it will inspire our community to do the same.

Beginning October 14 through October 18, 2020, community members will be able to access a link to the movie from the HCPS webpage. Once in possession of the link, attendees will be able to access the 56-minute film from the comfort of their own homes, at a time that works for their family.

Questions? Please email Christina.Alton@hcps.org.

Parent Academy Real Talk: Mental Health Supports

Please join us online on Tuesday, October 13, at 5:00 p.m. for a very important Parent Academy event raising awareness about mental health supports in our community. Mental health experts will share information for parents about how to access resources to help themselves and their children during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Additionally, information about a showing of the movie, "Angst," will be shared.

There is an opportunity to have your questions about mental health issues answered during this event. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, please submit your questions by October 10 at 4:00 p.m. to mentalhealthsupport@hcps.org.

To access the event on October 13 at 5:00 p.m., click here.

Break Activities

Below you will find links to the Elementary and Secondary Break Activities developed by a team of School Counselors, a School Nurse, and a Librarian. Social Workers will be adding in resources throughout the year.

Thanks to our team, which was led by Amanda Seiverd, School Counselor, and Tracy Hinder, School Nurse.

Any questions may be directed to Kay Malone at kay.malone@hcps.org.


Scroll down > Additional Resources > LCS Break Activities (Elementary/Secondary)

STAR Award

The office of Student Services is accepting nominations for the Student Services Standout Award (S.T.A.R. Award). This award is presented once per semester (biannually) to a nominated member of the Student Services staff.The nominee must currently be an employee budgeted under Student Services who is based in a school or Central Office. This would include staff under the offices of School Counseling Services, School Health Services, Psychological Services, or Pupil Personnel Services. Any person, regardless of position or relationship to the nominee, including students, may make the nomination. The nomination form and supporting narrative must be submitted by December 1 or May 1 of the respective semester. Please see the link below to access the nomination form and consider nominating someone today!

Link to Student Services S.T.A.R. Award

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Kay Malone, in School Counseling, at Kay.Malone@hcps.org or x5251.

The Maryland STEM Festival Highlights Manufacturing and Design During Sixth Annual Celebration

The 2020 Maryland STEM Festival announces their annual statewide celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will begin Friday, October 2, and run through Sunday, November 1, 2020. The Festival will highlight Manufacturing and Design and feature nearly 200 virtual events. The Festival’s Opening coincides with Manufacturing Day. Senator Christopher Van Hollen will keynote the Opening Ceremony on October 2 at 7:00 p.m., and Mike Galiazo, President, Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland will also speak. All Festival events will be conducted on either Zoom or Facebook and encourage direct interaction with the host. A compete list of events is available on their website. View and register for all events here.

SafeSchools Courses: All Staff

The Office of Risk Management has assigned two additional SafeSchools courses to staff that will be effective in time for Friday’s professional development window as follows:

  • “All Staff COVID-19 Safety Review” due October 12, 2020
  • “Health Emergencies: Overview” due October 19, 2020

Log onto SafeSchools using your HCPS network credentials: https://hcps-md.safeschools.com/training/home.

Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic

Get Your Flu Shot Without Leaving Your Car!

HCPS, in partnership with CVS, will be hosting a drive-thru flu shot clinic. Events will be held on various days in school parking lots throughout the county. Employees and their families (ages 9+) are welcome to attend an event to receive their flu shot.

Pre-registration is preferred, but not required. To register, click on the school location and date you wish to attend.

CVS representatives will be wearing masks and proper PPE. Please be sure to bring your insurance card and identification with you. Flu shots will be billed to your insurance*.

Questions? Email the Benefits Office at benefits@hcps.org.

*HCPS medical plans cover flu shots at 100% with no member liability.

+Events will be held at the school location listed per the selected link although the provided address is for Central Office.

Maryland State Retirement and Pension System PreRetirement Webinar

If you were able to attend the October 3 HCPS pre-retirement webinar, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, through the Community College of Baltimore County, is holding a webinar for members who are within eight (8) years of retirement. These webinars will cover the following topics:

  • The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System,
  • Legal Issues,
  • Social Security and Benefits, and
  • Financial Planning.

The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, October 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


1. Visit the website http://www.ccbcmd.edu/ceed-preretirement-county

2. Under the headline, How to Register, click the Register Online link.

3. Click the Select button next to the course titled "Pre-Retirement Webinar," towards the bottom of the screen.

4. Scroll back to the top of the screen to click on the button, Register for Selected Courses.

5. If you are not already logged in, you will be redirected to the login page.
a. If you have previously attended a Pre-Retirement Seminar or other class at CCBC, log in using your current username and password. Not sure what your username and password are? You can call CCBC at (443) 840-5059.
b. If this is your first Pre-Retirement Seminar, choose "New Account" on the right-hand side of the screen. Fill out your information (anything in red is required information) and choose Submit.

6. After you have registered for your seminar, choose "Finalize Selection" and print your confirmation. You should receive an email confirmation of your registration within three (3) business days.

As the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, through the Community College of Baltimore County, schedules more webinar dates, those dates will also be posted in the weekly HCSP 411 Update newsletter for interested individuals. If you are unable to attend this event but are interested in learning more, a shorter presentation about the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is on the Maryland State Retirement Agency website.

If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Miller, HCPS Coordinator of Benefits, at elizabeth.miller@hcps.org.

Shout Outs!

"We wanted to shout out our LSC staff at EMES and all the LSC staffs in classrooms throughout the county. You all stepped outside of your comfort zones, took on new challenges, and provided a safe environment for our students to learn during a time of great uncertainty. You helped pave the way into the 2020-21 SY for all of us. Along the way, you proved the power of one caring adult in a child’s life. We thank you for your commitment to the LSCs and for your devotion to our students!"

-Rebecca Spencer and Jenn Vlangas, Emmorton Elementary School

"Nora Bellinger is supporting everyone at the John Archer School Learning Support Center in different ways and doing it so well. Jessica Wilson (adapted P.E. teacher) has been an awesome team player addressing technology needs. MaryJane Ritter is working extra hard getting set up to support families during the holiday season who could use some help with food for holiday meals. Stephanie Smetana is working so hard for her students to optimize time and instruction opportunities. Your students are so fortunate to have as their teacher with your creativity and inspirational lessons. Marcy Johnson is working so hard with her team getting together an excellent schedule in a short amount of time. You departments lesson pages are inspirational."

-Rachel Otremba, John Archer School

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.