Howard school system to offer free lunches, snacks during spring break

Spring break is less than a month away and, to prepare, the Howard County Public School System is rolling out its annual free lunch program during four days of the upcoming vacation.

Lunches will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 6 through 9 at three locations in the county. Free Weekend Warrior Snack Packs will be available April 9 for children to bring home.


Any child ages 18 or younger can receive a meal at Oakland Mills Middle School or the East Columbia Branch library, both in Columbia, or the North Laurel Community Center in Laurel.

To provide the free meals, the school system has partnered with the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services, the Community Action Council of Howard County, Roving Radish and the Howard County Library System.

There is no application, enrollment process or cost for the program.

The 77-school district closes for spring break beginning with a three-hour early dismissal April 3, and classes resume April 14.

Med Sleds installed in schools for emergencies

In 32 Howard public schools, Med Sled evacuation devices have been installed to help transport individuals with mobility issues during an emergency situation.

Med Sled cabinets were installed in each enclosed stairwells of the 32 multi-storied county schools. A Med Sled is able to transport individuals down the stairs of a multi-floor building.

A person lies down in one the sleds, which has curved sides so they don’t fall out, and is buckled in before being transported out of a building.

“The safety of our staff and students will always remain our No. 1 priority,” said Thomas McNeal, director of security, emergency preparedness and response for county public schools.


“Installing Med Sled devices was an important project for Howard County public schools as it addresses the emergency evacuation assistance needs for our students and staff with mobility issues,” he said.

School staff members have been trained to use the devices, and next steps include using the sleds in emergency drills.

7 county schools win AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award

Seven Howard high schools were recognized for having high female student representation in the Advanced Placement computer science principles class.

Atholton, Centennial, Glenelg, Hammond, Howard, Marriotts Ridge and Reservoir high schools earned the College Board’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award.

“The award recognizes schools that are closing the gender gap and engaging more female students in computer science coursework,” according to the College Board’s website.

The high schools were recognized during the Feb. 27 Board of Education meeting.


County executive seeks student member for Recreation and Parks Advisory Board

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball is seeking a student applicant interested in serving on the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board. The deadline to apply is March 20.

Comprised of eight members, including one student, the board provides recommendations relating to plans, policies and programs for public recreation, according to a county news release. The board also reviews plans for and holds hearings on the acquisition and development of land for public recreation and open space.

The student member will serve a one-year term from July 1 to June 30, 2021.

Candidates must be a Howard County resident, enrolled in high school for the 2020-21 academic year and be able to attend the board’s meetings, which are held the third Wednesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Department of Recreation and Parks headquarters in Columbia.

Interested applicants should send a resume and a brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the board to: Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: Kimberly Pruim, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. Applications can also be emailed to kpruim@howardcountymd.gov.

The names of eligible applicants will be submitted to Ball for approval, and the nominee will then be submitted to the County Council for confirmation.

For more information about the board, call 410-313-4640 or go to howardcountymd.gov/advisoryboard.