Students react to MCPS’s updated guidelines

MCPS guidlines has updated their covid guidlines as we returned from winter break. There goal is to keep schools open and ensure to keep there students, staff, and teachers safe.

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MCPS guidlines has updated their covid guidlines as we returned from winter break. There goal is to keep schools open and ensure to keep there students, staff, and teachers safe.

MCPS updated its Covid-19 guidelines as schools returned from winter break. The change was put into place to ensure the safety of students, staff and teachers because of the recent surge of Covid cases in the county.

When schools returned back from break, many schools across MCPS saw a surge in cases, surpassing the 5% threshold. Because of increased absences, a significant substitute shortage caused students to sit in the cafeteria or media center, rather than classrooms. School transportation also was impacted by the recent surge with the cancellation of over 100 bus routes as numerous bus drivers were out sick.

MCPS was originally using the 5% threshold to determine whether or not schools would transition to a two-week virtual learning period.s. This rule or metric used to determine school closure was shortly revoked after half the county went into the red zone.

The criteria that a school has to meet in order to shut down are the following listed below.
Positive case rates among students and staff
Student Absences
Staff Absence
Bus staff shortages
Not enough substitutes to cover classes

After the decision to not follow the 5% rule, students, parents, staff, teachers and more grew worried and concerned about their safety. Most were frustrated about how MCPS was handling Covid and keeping students in schools even though there was a surge in cases.

“I feel as though the new guidelines have a complete disregard for students, staff members, and administrators safety. Choosing to keep all of us closed in one area when there are over 3,000 of us seems reckless and irresponsible,” SGA President Halle Burns said.

Students not bothered by the new guidelines feel as though MCPS is fulfilling their responsibility to keep their students safe.

“I really liked the new guidelines because it gives a feeling of security and more control. I just think that doing the test at home with certain people doesn’t work since sometimes they don’t send the results,” freshman Manuela Karolczak said.

Over the past couple of weeks, MCPS has been giving out take-home covid test kits and distributing KN-95 masks. Students were sent home with two take-home covid test kits on Jan. 10 and had until the end of the week to report their test results.

“It’s [distribution of take-home covid test] very practical and good, I thought it can help both at school and at home, to make the family safe,” Karolczak said.

If a student tests positive, they are required to quarantine for 10 days and self-monitor for 14 days. Then those in close contact with them are then notified by the administration.

“Quarantine guidance only applies to unvaccinated individuals who have been identified as close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Asymptomatic vaccinated individuals who have been identified as close contacts will not need to quarantine, as has been the case throughout this school year. Anyone, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms, who tests positive for COVID-19, must isolate for 10 days,” MCPS said.

If students have any other questions about reporting covid test results, they can visit the MCPS websites for more information.

In order to help those who are stuck at home quarantine stay on track as much as possible with their school work, teachers have uploaded live sessions, zoom recordings on canvas, and even met with the person one-one over zoom.

“I think MCPS has done what they think is the best but they could consult with people more,” junior Jalen Scott said.

Other students are not satisfied with MCPS’s response to Covid.

“I’m wondering what it’s going to take for them to actually take it seriously,” grade Shiima Nantuyla said.

Some students and staff feel unsafe in the building, knowing that there is a possibility of contracting Covid. Earlier this month our school alone had 200 Covid-19 cases between Dec. 23, 2021 and Jan. 6, 2022, and this raised major concern as most people were out with Covid and others staying home because they just didn’t feel safe in school.

Staff Development teacher Melanie Schwed expressed that during the previous weeks that we were in school she did not feel safe and was afraid that she could possibly contract Covid at work.

“With so many people having covid and so many staff and students out, no, I did not feel safe. I felt like I very likely get covid at work which I don’t think someone should have to worry about when they go to work just like students should have to worry when they go to school. But as covid cases start to go down I will feel better but it’s frustrating to still worry about catching covid at your job,” Schwed said.