Threat of snowy weather gives MCPS slight reprieve before students return to school

Heather Jauquet

Staff and families concerned about the return to school amid rise in positive cases

As the weekend after the holiday break began to wrap up and, teachers and families took to social media to debate the merits of delaying the beginning of in-person learning after a rise of COVID cases hit Maryland schools.

Before the break, Prince George’s County decided to go virtual. In Washington DC, DCPS took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post telling parents that students and staff must prove a negative COVID-19 test before returning to school. Staff and school families can pick up an IHealth rapid antigen test at any DCPS school. As winter weather closes area schools on Monday, DCPS has moved COVID-19 test kit pick-up to Tuesday, January 4 and Wednesday, January 5. DCPS moved to reopen on Thursday, January 6. Staff and students must submit a photo of test results before returning to schools.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff and parents started to share their worries about opening schools. According to a community update sent on Sunday evening, through Saturday, January 1, there had been 3,686 positive cases reported among students and staff over winter break. MCPS asks parents and staff to continue reporting cases using a google form found on their website.

However, many took to Twitter to share concerns that schools would be opening when there was a rampant uptick in positive cases in the days leading up to the break and the inability to obtain test kits or the recommended KN-95 masks on short notice. In addition, during the winter break, test centers were plagued with long lines, making it difficult for people to get tested and get results in a timely manner.

Parents and staff are hesitant to return to students to what they have taken to calling the “COVID stew.” MCPS continued to hold the line about opening after the break, and then Mother Nature stepped with a winter storm in to give a day’s reprieve before students returned to their schools.

While one day isn’t enough to ease the worries from the community, it will give an extra day to find a test, get results, and prevent the spread before students walk the halls again.

How do you feel about students returning to in-person learning amid an uptick in cases? What do you think MCPS should do differently? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Certified educator K-12 and Reading Specialist with a focus on the adolescent brain. I write about how educational decisions affect parents, students, and staff. As an educator and parent I also focus on community events for the whole family.


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