HCPS 411 Update

July 30, 2020

SafeSchools Online Training

The Office of Risk Management has worked with the Office of Organizational Development to streamline SafeSchools training courses to be issued to all employees with an effective date of August 3 and a due date of September 28, 2020.

  • Mandated Course (All Employees): Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Mandated Course (School-Based Employees): Child Abuse: Mandatory Reporting, Students Experiencing Homelessness, Youth Suicide Awareness, Sexual Misconduct: Staff to Student
  • Optional Course (All Employees): Coronavirus: Managing Stress and Anxiety

Employees may receive additional courses, such as Responsible Use Procedures, during this time or targeted courses specific to certain jobs. The Office of Risk Management will also continue to utilize SafeSchools to send out custom COVID-19 training for supervisors. In December, additional courses will be assigned, such a Health Emergencies and Service Animals. For SafeSchools questions, please contact Katie Ridgway at katie.ridgway@hcps.org.

Log on to SafeSchools using your HCPS network credentials:

Important Health Care Flexible Spending Account Announcement


As part of the CARES Act, which was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS has enacted numerous changes to current laws governing the Healthcare and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts. The 2020 plan amendment document regarding these changes can be found on the Human Resources page of the HCPS SharePoint site. The following information below is to notify you of the changes that have been implemented:

Over The Counter Medications Covered

Participants of the health care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) may now use account funds to pay for over-the-counter medications. Medications like Tylenol®, Zyrtec®, and more will now be available for purchase with your FSA monies without a prescription. The CARES Act temporarily reverses the provision that required FSA users to obtain a prescription for over-the-counter medicines, retroactively back to purchases between the period of January 2020 and December 31, 2020.

If you have receipts for over-the-counter medications that you have purchased since January 2020, you may submit those for reimbursement from your health care FSA account by completing the Medical Reimbursement Claim Form, which can be found here.

Spend Down Period Extended

The IRS has released guidelines that extend the timeline for FSA participants to spend down all 2019 – 2020 remaining funds in their Healthcare and or Dependent Care accounts until December 31, 2020.

Mid-Year Election Changes

As a result of the recent IRS notice, you may make changes to your plan on a prospective basis, even if you previously declined coverage. You may enroll in, revoice, decrease, or increase your Healthcare and or Dependent Care FSA election. However, it is essential to remember that Healthcare FSA is a pre-funded account. You may not decrease your election below what has been withheld from your paycheck so far for the current plan year (2020 – 2021), or less than what has already been spent – whichever is greater.

If you have questions, please contact the Benefits Office at benefits@hcps.org.

Employee Service Recognition Gifts

Congratulations to our employees who have celebrated a recent service anniversary with Harford County Public Schools! This is an important milestone and we wish to thank you for all the ways your work has inspired and prepared students for success. As a token of our appreciation, employees were offered the opportunity to select a gift. This gift was delivered to their work location or to their home address and should have been received.

Employees who celebrated a service anniversary, but did not select a gift prior to the selection deadline, will receive a gift selected for them. This gift will be mailed in the upcoming weeks to the home address on record.

We hope that you will enjoy your gift as a small token of our appreciation for your dedication and service to the students of HCPS.

Questions regarding this information should directed to Donna Dean, in Human Resources, at Donna.Dean2@hcps.org.

Freedom Federal Credit Union Donates Face Masks

In years past, Freedom Federal Credit Union (FFCU) has recognized the service of the dedicated employees of Harford County Public Schools by supporting the Employee Service Recognition Dinner. This year, FFCU has chosen to recognize all employees of HCPS by donating a protective face mask for every employee. By means of this generous contribution, they would like to honor and show their appreciation for the work done by every HCPS employee as we continue to educate the students of HCPS, while maintaining a safe and protected environment for staff and students.

Every school and Central Office location will receive enough face masks for every employee assigned to the location. Additional masks are provided for long-term substitutes and other temporary employees assigned to the location. Masks have been delivered to your assigned work location and will be available during the first week of August. Please see your supervisor or the building administrator to obtain your mask. Supervisors and administrators should contact Kathy DeHoff, in Human Resources, if additional masks are needed.

We hope that you will join us in expressing our appreciation to Freedom Federal Credit Union for this generous contribution!

Employee Health Guidelines Related to COVID-19

Employee Health Guidelines Related to COVID-19: Updated Information as of July 28, 2020.

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

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

If an employee has been directly exposed to someone who tests positive or is presumed to have COVID-19, the employee must follow the guidance of healthcare providers, state and local health departments, and State of Maryland.


  • It is a requirement that every employee complete a self-check, including temperature, before arriving to work.
  • If an employee has a temperature of 100° F or more, or has a cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell, or other flu-like symptoms, 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 have their masks on at all times.
  • If you work in an area that interfaces with the public, masks must always be worn.
  • When in doubt, wear a mask. A courtesy mask is provided by Freedom Federal Credit Union.
  • Employees must disinfect their office space after working without a mask.

Sanitation Guidelines:

  • HCPS will follow sanitation guidelines, but employees can assist by disinfecting their personal areas and other communal areas such as door handles, shared equipment, communal work surfaces. Cleaning should occur at the start of the shift, midway through the workday, at the end of the shift and whenever needed.
  • 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.

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.