School is still in session

April 2, 2020, 9:31 p.m. | By Yuri Kim | 4 years, 2 months ago

Middle school teachers "strongly suggest" that students continue their work during the COVID-19 break

On March 18, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) released a community letter to inform students and their families about updates on school-related activities and programs affected by COVID-19. The letter included a section for Continuity of Learning, stating that the two-week closure "is being treated as an emergency closure (similar to inclement weather days). This means that teachers are not working and will not be providing new instruction or giving new assignments to students."

Teachers "strongly suggest" that students continue their work during the COVID-19 break (courtesy of Audrey Haverland). Photo courtesy of Audrey Haverland.

In addition, the county developed optional learning activities and materials which were posted on myMCPS classroom as review during the break. Printed packets are also available for students who struggle to access the online classroom from home.

Sixth grader Norah Braun from A. Mario Loiederman Middle School stated that the majority of her teachers were following the county's guidelines, strongly suggesting her to complete the recommended assignments on myMCPS. "They're optional, but I think I have to do them because my parents are probably going to make me. They're not graded," she said. 

Sixth grader Anne Wilson from Eastern Middle School said that Braun is "lucky" that most of her teachers are following MCPS's guidelines—instead, her teachers have either been searching for loopholes or completely ignoring the guidelines. "Our teachers are giving us new material, new assignments mainly. We've never done them before, and we have to keep checking for updates," she said.

These teachers reason that as long as they do not grade the assignments during the break, it is acceptable that they continue giving out work during the two week period. "[Our teacher] says she "strongly suggests" that we turn it in during the break. The assignments are due after the break, but there is so much work that we are forced to start during the break if we ever want to finish," Wilson added.

The two-week optional work was a temporary solution before the county developed an official online curriculum for the rest of the closure. Superintendent Jack R. Smith released a message on March 22, explaining MCPS's official transition into online learning. "On March 30, we will launch the first phase of a distance learning system so that students can begin to have structured school experiences. A system that will provide multiple ways to access learning for a variety of students," Smith wrote.

As the two week closure extends to April 24, students must prepare themselves for a structured online curriculum for an indefinite amount of time.

Last updated: April 2, 2020, 9:32 p.m.

Tags: MCPS online school coronavirus COVID-19

Yuri Kim. Hey, I'm Yuri and I'm a senior :) When I'm not on SCO, I'm listening to music, overusing emojis, and/or working on another strange arts-and-crafts project. More »

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