Parents of Montgomery Co. Concerned About School System’s COVID Response

Parents of students at Montgomery County public schools on Sunday raised concerns about the system’s response to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

Montgomery County Public Schools have rejected his formula for deciding when the school system will turn to virtual learning. On Sunday, some parents, students and teachers urged the school system not to bring students back to class yet.

In a virtual town hall, County Council member Tom Hucker heard from dozens of people who said the school system‘s response to the increase in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant was not gone quite far.

“I know dozens of families, including mine, who are frustrated that their lives are in danger,” said Elani, a freshman at Richard Montgomery High School, who called for virtual options for students.

Other students have called for classes not to return in person yet, citing the more than 10,000 reported cases of COVID-19 among students, teachers and school staff ahead of the first classes of 2022.

“Lunch is a COVID frenzy where everyone has to take off their masks,” said Zoe Cantor, who started a petition expressing concerns from some groups about a return to class.

The county’s acting superintendent of schools, Monifa McKnight, apologized to the school community on Sunday, saying the school system could have done a better job communicating the COVID issues and the system’s response to them.

“I apologize for the stress this has caused to our staff, students and community members,” McKnight said. “The health and well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority. “

She announced that MCPS will provide every student with KN-95 masks over the next two weeks, and rapid test kits will also be distributed to students and staff.

“We continue to believe that in-person learning is the best way to meet the educational, social and emotional needs of our students and we will continue to prioritize keeping our school buildings open,” McKnight said.

While decisions about whether to continue in-person classes or the virtual learning options available to students are up to the school system, many at City Hall called on the several lawmakers to listen to push the school system to rethink. his current plan.

The demand ranged from a return to system-wide virtual learning for several weeks to a mandate requiring students to test negative on a COVID-19 test before returning to class.

Several teachers also expressed concerns about staff shortages and told stories of students coming together to be supervised.

“The school created COVID breeding ground by placing all the students in the cafeteria,” said Megan Fitzharris, music teacher at Briggs Chaney Middle School.

There have also been calls for virtual options for students too worried to return to class while COVID cases are ongoing. A special education teacher and mother of a sixth-grader who only passed by Cheryl during the reunion, said many of her students were already being looked after at home by their parents.

“Students will lose ground without a virtual option… and teachers will not be able to catch up with students,” she said.

Relative Nicole Brown urged not to close all schools due to the increase in the number of cases, saying she believes “school closures” are the biggest risk students face today.

“I believe healthy children and staff should be in school,” Brown said.

During the town hall, the majority of parents who spoke asked for a break when the students returned to class. The mother of an eighth grader said that with so many sick people the school system had to go virtual for two weeks.

“Let everyone get better, then let everyone come back,” she said.

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