Approved plan enables Hawks’ return to school


As a part of the reopening plan, desks will be spaced six feet apart to ensure social distancing. The number of tables has been decreased to accommodate. PHOTO CREDIT: Jennifer Chandler

Annie Finholm, Reporter

      As the students of Harford County Public Schools enter a new virtual school year during the midst of a pandemic, a proposal has been authorized to re-enter the building and resume in-person teaching.

       With lower numbers of Coronavirus cases confirmed daily, according to The New York Times, public schools in the county have put into action their reopening plan. Monday, October 12 marks the date on which staff will return to work sites and on Monday, October 19, limited small-group activities will begin. As for the date of student return, HCPS has deemed Monday, November 16 the appropriate date.  

     In order to track and limit the number of students and staff that come into contact with the virus, school nurses will monitor and observe symptoms of individuals to prevent any possible spread of germs. HCPS reports that “In the event that a student or staff member becomes ill with COVID-19, school nurses will adhere to the latest Maryland Department of Health guidance regarding isolation and quarantine procedures.” 

      The latest guidance from the state and local health department will determine school cleaning and closing decisions, states the reopening plan. The scheme continues by saying “HCPS Health Services will collaborate with the Harford County Health Department to assist with appropriate contact tracing measures.” 

      Like the active protocol in many public places such as grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, masks, or fabric face coverings, will be required in school and on buses. Harford County Public Schools will promote physical distancing by, according to HCPS, “Rearranging furniture and desks to move students farther apart” and, to maintain or obtain physical health, will “require frequent handwashing and cleaning of high touch surfaces.”

     The American School and University reports that 26 million students take the bus to school. The HCPS reopening plan includes explicit details regarding the usage of this form of transportation. They write, “In order to maintain reduced capacity guidelines, school bus seating will be limited to one student per seat.” 

      The guidelines proceed by stating, “Siblings may sit together. If necessary, some seats may remain unoccupied. Students will be required to wear a face covering.” Because of the reduction of persons per seat, more buses will be needed to accommodate. 

      To ensure germs are not spread between groups of students taking the bus, “HCPS will be observing cleaning and sanitation protocols provided by MSDE and the Harford County Health Department. Sanitization and Disinfection All HCPS school buses will be sanitized in the morning and afternoon, after dropping students off at their school buildings. High touch surfaces are sanitized between each route.” 

     This plan has received a stamp of approval from Bryan Pawlicki, Principal. Pawlicki “support[s] the reopening plan as it has been written” and has made it a priority to “provide students and teachers with the safest environment [they] can.”

     In regards to the effectiveness of online classes and hybrid learning, the principal says they are “watching the data to see how the delivery of virtual instruction is [affecting] the learning progress.” Plans will be adjusted according to the data and how efficient the learning process is.  

          Assistant principal Megan Lewis reports that she has many goals regarding the work rate of the school year, as well as the safety of student and staff physical wellness. Lewis claims she wishes for “all students and staff to have a healthy and productive school year.” 

     The principal continues this thought by adding her goals for the Hawks to “engage in online learning to the best of their abilities, and to put forward their best efforts in order to earn credit in all courses.”