MCPS students march to demand transition to virtual learning

Following a spike in Covid-19 cases, mostly due to the Omicron variant, much of the MCPS community has been demanding that the county temporarily suspend in-person learning and embrace a fully virtual format for two weeks.

MCPS initially stated that if a school were to reach a 5% or more threshold of Covid-19 cases in its population, there would be a discussion in whether a shift to online learning was necessary. However, a Jan. 8 community update from the MCPS Board of Education informed the county’s residents of that policy’s cancellation. Instead, MCPS will look at schools on a case-by-case basis from that point on and that the schools that already went online because of the threshold should await further instruction.

This sparked fury in students across the county, especially because this change came after almost all of Montgomery County schools had exceeded this threshold of positive cases.

“They [the county] put the students at risk… They were only thinking for the school and not about the students and how they feel at risk,” junior Guy Saltsman said.

County-wide walkouts were to take place Friday, Jan. 21 at noon. An Instagram account, @mcpsstudentwalkout2022, surfaced and invited MCPS students to organize walkouts at their respective schools to push “for a temporary, two week virtual shift for the safety of our families.”

Beginning Thursday, Jan. 20, 16 MCPS schools were to enter virtual learning due to a surge in cases in those respective schools. However, the other 193 schools in the county are yet to receive transitional instruction.

“That [amount of schools who have gone online] is not enough,” Saltsman said.