HCPS 411 Update

April 16, 2020

Public Notice to Participate in the Board of Education Business Meeting on Monday, April 20, 2020

On Monday, April 20, 2020, at 6:30 p.m., the Business Meeting of the Board of Education of Harford County will be hosted virtually. The Audio Live Stream will be available on https://www.hcps.org/boe/livestream/.

Those who wish to submit a public comment may do so by submitting comments in writing at Contact Board of Education no later than 12:00 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020.

The following information must be provided in the contact form when submitting comments:

1. Emails must be marked “Comment for April 20, 2020 Board Meeting”

2. First and last name

3. Email and phone number

4. Address


  • Comments received by 12:00 p.m. on April 20, 2020 will be read into the record during the public comment segment of the Business meeting.
  • Comments received after the 12:00 p.m. deadline will not be read into the record during the Business meeting.
  • The Board expects that all comments will be submitted with the decorum and respect appropriate to the conduct of public business.
  • Topics such as personnel matters, pending appeals and specific student disciplinary matters will not be read into the record.
  • Disparaging comments, personal attacks, and inflammatory remarks about specific schools or personnel will not be read into the record.
  • The Presiding Officer will not read a comment that does not conform to the rules of the Board regarding public comment.
  • All public comments submitted will be part of the records maintained by the Board office.
  • Please be reminded that written comments submitted are considered public information and, as such, are subject to the Maryland Public Information Act.

Please contact Teri Schmid in the Board of Education Office via Teresa.Schmid@hcps.org with any questions.

April 28 - Schools and Offices to Conduct Business

Governor Hogan made an executive order to postpone the April 28 elections. As a result, the Board of Education voted to have schools and offices operate on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Previously, this was a system closure for the elections.

Extra Duty Pay Stipends

All Extra Duty Pay Stipends will be paid in full for the 2019-2020 school year; including all spring sports/activities. The process will reflect normal extra duty pay practices and payment schedules as though schools were open under normal operations. It is important to note that any seasonal coaches or non-HCPS employee coaches that have filed for and received unemployment benefits will not qualify for the stipend payment.

Teacher Collaboration Space in Professional Learning Courses

The Instructional Technology Team has received many requests regarding the ability for teachers to share itslearning content and resources with colleagues in their schools. While the itslearning library is the preferred method of sharing content, it does not support the sharing of all the various itslearning elements. In order to provide a collaborative space for teachers, our instructional technology team, with the support of several pilot schools, has tested the ability for teachers to use the school’s itslearning Professional Learning course to share itslearning content and resources. The teachers in the pilot schools have found great success in the ability to share with their colleagues through the Professional Learning course. The directions for usage of the Teacher Collaboration Space in Professional Learning Courses, outline the steps for sharing and provides screenshots to support this process. Please contact instructionaltech@hcps.org with questions or for support.

New Law Lifts Restrictions on Over The Counter (OTC) Products for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The CARES Act permanently reinstated some over-the-counter (OTC) products as eligible expenses for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) without a prescription. This provision is effective for qualified purchases made after December 31, 2019. Participants may submit claims for reimbursement for purchases between that date and when this law passed.

Please note the following:

  • Until merchants update their code list, your benefits cards will not work.
  • Participants may pay out of pocket and later file a manual claim for reimbursement.
  • Certain dual-purpose items may still require a prescription.

Some OTC items listed that previously required a prescription but no longer need one include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Acid Controllers
  • Anti-Gas Products
  • Anti-Parasitic Treatments
  • Cold Sore Remedies
  • Digestive Aids
  • Hemorrhoid Preps
  • Motion Sickness
  • Respiratory Treatments
  • Stomach Remedies
  • Allergy & Sinus Medication
  • Anti-Diarrheal
  • Baby Rash Ointments & Creams
  • Cough, Cold & Flu
  • Feminine Anti-Fungal & Anti-Itch
  • Laxatives
  • Pain Relievers
  • Sleep Aids & Sedatives

Professional Development Announcements

National Board Certification - Virtual Meetings Scheduled

All teachers who have three years of teaching experience in the state of Maryland are encouraged to apply for financial aid to pay for the National Board process. Certification can be achieved in one, two, or three years and leads to many benefits, including: professional learning, stipends from HCPS and MSDE, credits, and support from the NBCT community throughout the process. Informational meetings will be held to share the requirements for the 2020 application process on May 6, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., in a Teams Meeting. Please RSVP through HECTOR. Questions or concerns may be emailed to Lori Gohlinghorst at Lori.Gohlinghorst@hcps.org.

Continuity of Learning

MSDE has approved a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) experience to award educators credit for implementing the Local School System (LSS) Continuity of Learning Plan. Additional information on obtaining credit will be available in the May 7 edition of the HCPS 411 Update.

Hosting a Field Observation or Full-Time Student Intern

The Professional Development Office will continue to request MSDE credit on teachers’ behalf for hosting a field observation or full-time student intern during the spring semester. The process and requirements have changed slightly due to the school closures. Next week, guidance will be emailed directly to teachers who were assigned a college or university student to work with them any time between January 1, 2020, and June 15, 2020. Questions may be directed to Heather Kutcher at Heather.Kutcher@hcps.org.

Spring CPD Courses

Participants who were in the middle of the following spring courses will be receiving instruction from your instructor. We have received guidance and approval from MSDE that these will be credit bearing.

  • Education that is Multicultural in the 21st Century
  • Office 365 for Educators

With regret, the following courses were canceled. Participants will be receiving refunds.

  • Teacher Leadership: Develop Skills for Success
  • Engaging Students through Novel Instruction

Book Studies

All current book studies can move forward. Please contact your facilitator. Facilitators are asked to work with all participants to ensure that everyone is able to complete the learning activities. Please do not deny any participant from the study due to technology issues. As appropriate, find other means for them to complete the assignments.

School administrators wishing to structure a book 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 the course.


Those schools working on FAME projects can move forward. If necessary to collaborate remotely, please do not deny any participants due to technology issues. As appropriate, find other means for them to complete the project.

A Special Message for Maryland's Teachers of the Year

Please take a momemt to watch this uplifting message from the reigning 2019-2020 State Teachers of the Year! Check out our favorite TOY at 1:54!
Dear Teachers

University of Maryland Medical System Offers Free Webinars On Mental Health

Social distancing is important, but you don't have to go through this pandemic alone.

During this difficult time, we encourage you to join the University of Maryland Medical System for our next series of webinars titled "Not All Wounds Are Visible: A Community Conversation About Mental Health and COVID-19."

Learn how to get help for yourself, family, and friends in your community.

Upcoming Webinars

Protecting Your Mental Health

Learn effective tools for supporting your emotional health and managing the stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date: Thursday, April 16
Time: 3:00 p.m.

Helping Children Cope

Parents and caregivers will hear tips about helping children and teens navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date: Tuesday, April 21
Time: 3:00 p.m.

Isolated but Connected

Learn the importance of staying connected with family and friends to help lower feelings of social isolation during this time of physical distancing.

Date: Thursday, April 23
Time: 3:00 p.m.

Learn more about these important webinars and how to access them: Join the Conversation.

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 on 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.

CareFirst Video Visit

CareFirst Video Visit is now available at no cost for the duration of this public health emergency. COVID-19 is spreading within the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that now is the best time to prepare yourself and your family. One thing you can do is sign up for CareFirst Video Visit so you can visit with a doctor from the comfort of your home, minimizing possible exposure to the virus for yourself and others. Doctors can evaluate your risk for COVID-19 and other respiratory conditions, advise on next steps, and refer you to in-person care if needed. Video visits using CareFirst Video Visit are a covered benefit under your CareFirst health plan. Sign up for free today and be prepared! Go to carefirstvideovisit.com or download the mobile app.

Shout Outs!

"I'd like to shout out Mr. Kyle Dixon for going above and beyond to reach out to our students! He sent post cards to all of the students in all of his classes to check on them. I'm lucky to have a co-teacher who cares so much about kids!"

-Samantha Brown, English Teacher, Havre de Grace High School

"I'd like to give a shout out to all of the custodians for disinfecting and scrubbing all of our schools."

-Jennifer Litz, Custodian I, Bel Air High 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.