Students upset with MCPS decision to stay in-person


Photo by Jake Dolan

Packages of KN95 masks were passed out to students during advisory on Jan. 18.

As we near the two-year anniversary of the beginning of quarantine, schools are being faced with a familiar problem. Two years later and fueled by new variants, Covid is still raging on, and schools are being faced with a difficult decision once again. Should they go virtual?

MCPS has made it clear that virtual learning will be their last resort, regardless of how many students and teachers catch Covid. However, that doesn’t mean they have been completely ignoring Covid. The county provided students and teachers with rapid test kits and KN95 masks, and PCR screening for students during the school days if their parents choose to opt in. 

The county also introduced a new color coded system to help keep track of Covid in schools, but the system was eliminated just several days later as most of the schools ended up being in the high risk zone, deeming the system useless. Instead MCPS now updates the daily increases in Covid cases at each school instead of reporting the total cases.

As other schools and counties across the U.S. go virtual, students are wondering why they aren’t being offered the same. Lack of bus drivers are leaving students stranded, miles away from their schools, with no way to attend their classes. Lack of teachers and subs are leaving students unattended in class, with no one to teach them. And lack of virtual learning is leaving students with Covid completely stranded with no way to attend their classes or complete their assessments. 

Junior Tyler Buzy has been disappointed with MCPS’s lack of regard toward Covid and believes MCPS should have made the transition to virtual learning a while ago. “I think we should have [switched to virtual learning] a while ago, right after winter break. Everyday we are getting 10 to 30 more people reporting sick, and virtual learning would have prevented most of these cases,” Buzy said. “MCPS hasn’t been transparent enough. They are trying to do better now, but it is too little too late.”

Buzy is not alone in these opinions as senior Amol Dhaliwao shares similar concerns. “I’m unhappy with how MCPS has been handling Covid as they have been changing their plan every week,” Dhaliwao said. “If MCPS wants to stop the spread of Covid they should switch to hybrid learning and communicate better with the community.”

The MCPS color coded system also seems to be a topic of hot discussion as students were upset that their school hit the 5% threshold, but never went virtual. “MCPS should go back to the 5% threshold for determining when to close down schools,” junior Carter Gary said. “MCPS hasn’t been fully utilizing their resources and we need to go virtual due to these recent Covid cases.”