Harford County Public Schools to start year off virtually

Posted at 12:18 PM, Jul 16, 2020

BEL AIR, Md. — Harford County Public Schools have revealed their proposed re-opening plan that will be submitted to the State Department of Education for approval.

The drafted version was presented publicly at the July 13 Board of Education meeting.

Since then, the school system says they've received extensive feedback and have decided to start the 2020-2021 school year completely virtual, while providing students a safe, supervised place during the school day if needed.

While in-person learning would have been preferred, the system agreed current conditions make it impossible for large groups of students to be in school at one time.

The hybrid model, which would have included some in-person and virtual learning, was ruled out over a lack of social distancing capability and logistical challenges it could create for parents.

There was also concern that many teachers would be unwilling to present in-person instruction.

To prepare and equip students for e-learning, the school system says Chromebooks will be provided for all students in grades K-8, while Windows-based laptops will be issued to all students in grades 9-12.

All teachers will receive a Windows-based laptop. HCPS is also looking into acquiring cellular hotspots throughout the county, to give internet access to all students.

As for students needing a place to go for the school day, HCPS will offer a limited number of spaces in Learning Support Centers at each school which will be supervised by a school employee. Their classes will still be held virtually with their teacher who will be working remotely.

Students attending a Learning Support Center will also have access to bus transportation and food.

The school system says they have sent all families an Intentions Survey, to gauge the level of interest in Learning Support Centers.

To fill out the survey, click here.

On Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., HCPS is hosting a virtual Parent Academy Town Hall to go over details of the plan.