HCPS 411 Update

April 9, 2020

A Video Message From Superintendent Bulson

Please take a moment to view this important message from Dr. Bulson, also available on the HCPS YouTube channel. The FAQs on www.hcps.org/coronavirus have been updated with additional details.

April 9, 2020 Important Message from Superintendent Bulson

Parent Academy Virtual Real Talk – Daily Life and Coping During COVID-19

During this first virtual Real Talk segment, HCPS Mental Health Coordinator and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Christina Alton shares information about how parents can cope with anxiety and support their children’s mental health during the COVID-19 crisis.

Virtual Real Talks will continue to be produced during the extended closure.

Parent Academy Virtual Real Talk –Daily Life and Coping During COVID-19

HCPS Email Address for Mental Health Support During the Closure

HCPS has created an email address for staff, students, and parents/guardians to request mental health support and/or a referral from one of our school social workers. This service will be available on days when school would normally be in session, beginning April 14, 2020, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The email address is mentalhealthsupport@hcps.org. This resource will remain available throughout the duration of the COVID-related school closure. Those reaching out via this email address should include their name and phone number in the message and can expect a phone call from a school social worker within 24 hours (Monday through Friday). Those experiencing a mental health emergency requiring immediate attention are reminded to call 911.

Self-care Tips to Help You Cope With the Stress and Emotions of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Here are five quick tips, recommended by Amy Alexander, Executive Director of The Refuge Center for Counseling:

  1. Guard your inputs: Limit your news exposure and time; stay focused on what we know today and not on speculation; look for the good - during this crisis there are still wonderful things happening. Think about “is this information a fountain (filling me up) or a drain (causing stress)?”
  2. Structure your day: During times of uncertainty, it is those predictable things that help us have a sense of control. Stick to daily rituals or create new ones that add purpose to your day.
  3. Get physical activity: Being active is good for mental and physical well-being. After work, take a walk and enjoy nature, something we don’t always take the time to do. The natural world around us goes on and observing even small things, like gentle rain, birds in a tree, or a squirrel running in your backyard, can be calming.
  4. Connect with people: Although team meetings are great, you can still feel isolated working from your typical space or at home and during your off-duty time. Message, send cards, call to catch up with friends and family, join in neighborhood activities like sidewalk chalk art, driveway dancing/social hour while still observing physical distancing.
  5. Consult a therapist if you feel overloaded: It is important to take care of your physical and mental health. HCPS resources are here for you, like the employee medical plan, which offers virtual doctor visits, including mental health, and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Contact HR at 410-588-5275 if you have questions about accessing those or other benefits programs.

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.

CareFirst Video Visit

CareFirst Video Visit 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 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 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!

"A shout out to our School Nurses for their donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Upper Chesapeake Heath Center. Masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles were collected from our health suites on April 2, loaded into a bus, and delivered to the hospital. Special thanks to Trish Schoen, Linda Jensen, Buck Hennigan, and Wayne Boyer for helping with the logistics."

-Mary Nasuta, Nurse Coordinator

"I would like to give a shout out to User Support. The team at user support has been so responsive to parents, teachers, and staff helping to navigate working and learning from home. They are quick, friendly, and provide amazing customer service. Thank you for all you do!"

-Rebecca Reese, Principal, William S. James Elementary School

"Mr. Ron Burke, Band Director at Patterson Mill High School, had to deliver devastating news about a cancelled out-of-state field trip. This trip involved significant funds and travel insurance and deposits and fundraisers and heartbreaks. Mr. Burke set up an evening work time where parents could come in and have their concerns heard. Mr. Burke created personal spreadsheets for each parent (there were hundreds) and met with them individually to explain their refund situation. The personal approach put families at ease and while they left disappointed about the trip, they were comforted by Mr. Burke’s compassion."

-Stacey Zengel, Assistant Principal, Patterson Mill 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.