Baltimore Gets Creative to Entice Chronically Absent Students to Return

Baltimore City Public Schools have launched a phone banking program in an attempt to connect with and entice chronically absent students to return the the classroom. The Super Outreach Sunday phone bank program was recently launched by Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) in a push by the school system to connect with students who have already had 10 or more unexcused absences or have yet to attend school since the start of the 2022-23 school year four…

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How the Pandemic Shaped Paid Leave Laws Around the Country

Paid sick leave has been at the forefront of Maryland policy debates for over a decade, with the state passing a paid leave mandate during the 2022 legislative session. While some states already had such policies in place, others were inspired to provide such leave during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we look at how paid leave has been incorporated around the country. The Pew Charitable Trusts' Stateline initiative recently reported on how the COVID-19 pandemic inspired more states…

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$1.5M in ARPA Funds from Washington County Support Nonprofits

Washington County has allocated $1.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding to create and implement the Community Recovery Nonprofit Grant Program. The Washington County Office of Grant Management has created a new grant program to assist eligible local nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The County has allocated $1.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to create and implement the Community Recovery Nonprofit Grant Program. The grant program is…

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Montgomery “Streeteries” Evaluated for Long-Term Plan

Montgomery's four "streeteries," established to creatively assist businesses during the pandemic, will continue to operate with some changes to certain location concepts. Four “Streeteries” that were created in early 2020 by Montgomery County as a temporary concept to support businesses struggling from the economic impacts of COVID-19 and allow residents to gather freely on public streets closed to cars are now being reevaluated for fall as the pandemic continues to ease. The County’s Streeteries include…

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Here’s How Districts Are Addressing COVID-19 this School Year

Only Prince George's County is requiring masking in all public schools to start the 2022-2023 school year, while testing and quarantine policies vary by district. As students across Maryland return to in-person classrooms in the coming weeks, each school district seems to have a different approach to COVID-19 mitigation. In late July, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released updated guidance to Support Safe In-Person Operations for PreK-12 Schools. Individual school districts had to…

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Test Scores in Science Confirm State’s COVID Learning Gap

New assessment data in science detail the "COVID gap" many of Maryland's students are experiencing. New statewide testing data show that only one-third of Maryland fifth and eighth graders passed the state’s first statewide science examine given since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic started. Education leaders have warned about pandemic learning loss, also known as the "COVID gap," for over a year now, but this new data reveals it may be worse than previously…

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Preventing Burnout at #MACoCon

During the 2022 MACo Summer Conference, experts from across Maryland discussed how to address worker burnout amongst county employees. The “Great Resignation” has seen workforce numbers dip across all sectors, including those government workers most responsible for protecting the public from COVID-19. From mental health first aid to providing self-care opportunities in the office, counties have employed numerous strategies to avoid burnout and attrition amongst their most overworked staff. Presenters advised county officials on how…

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Pandemic Partnerships: Rebuilding Small Businesses at #MACoCon

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses suffered immensely through reduced consumer demand or intense emergency-related regulatory requirements. Counties took the lead in mitigating these impacts, some through rapidly designing, funding, and implementing or augmenting small business grant and incentive programs. At the MACo Summer Conference, a panel of county leaders shared best practices for offering and managing small business incentives and helping small businesses explore new opportunities while building resilience to navigate future shocks. Delegate Jeff Ghrist…

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Howard Opens Mobile Classroom for Hands-On Learning

Howard County has launched a new mobile classroom to connect students across the County with hands-on learning experiences. The STEAM Machine is a new mobile classroom managed by Howard County Public Library System (HCPLS) that will provide Howard County students with hands-on educational experiences in science, technology, engineering, art and math. According to a press release: The STEAM Machine is a 33’ Farber diesel bus featuring a climate-controlled classroom that seats 12 students and is equipped with Wi-Fi,…

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Maryland’s Medical Workforce Encountering Troublesome Shortages

On Monday, August 8th, the Maryland Hospital Association released its 2022 State of Maryland's Health Care Workforce Report, highlighting a growing shortage of nurses and other medical professionals across the state.  Maryland Matters summarized the report's findings in a recent article. In its summary, Maryland Matters notes, "Maryland is currently short 5,000 full-time registered nurses and 4,000 licensed practical nurses," and "the state could see shortages two or three times larger than current levels by 2035." Nurse…

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