How schools provide to students during the coronavirus closure

April 20, 2020, 1:46 p.m. | By Mercedes Pierce | 2 years, 1 month ago

MCPS continues to provide support and education to the community through the COVID-19 pandemic

The critical role that schools play in the lives of students, families and communities has become obvious as that role has been threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) closed, they were forced to address the responsibility that they have to provide necessities, such as meals and technology, to thousands of students across the county. For those who depend on schools for their everyday needs, school closures present many difficulties. 

In order to address the need for food in the community, MCPS has set up meal distribution stations across the county where two meals per day are accessible to people ages eighteen and under. At Blair, one of over forty distribution locations, staff from the school along with other volunteers distribute meals between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. everyday. The distribution site, which is run by Blair cafeteria manager Christine Blanton, runs like a well-oiled machine. The staff are ready with plastic bags of food which is then delivered to cars that pull up, limiting contact between families and the staff. Blanton put an emphasis on their efforts to maintain cleanliness at the site. “We have gloves, we have hand sanitizer,” she said. “They switch up every ten minutes and change gloves and put hand sanitizer on their hands.”

As the county has transitioned to alternative forms of education, they have expressed their desire to ensure that their distance learning is as equitable as possible. In order to enable online learning, MCPS has passed out Chromebooks and mobile Wi-Fi hotspot devices alongside the daily meals. In a letter from the MCPS superintendent Jack Smith, he said that the digital devices “will help ensure our students can fully engage in this new model” and that “these devices will be prioritized for students in need.”

Regardless of MCPS’ valiant efforts to make distance learning effective and equitable, it has proven impossible to match in-person education. With no guarantee that every student has the adequate resources and environment to complete normal school work, the county limited teachers to only two additional grades for marking period three. As the prospect of long-term distance learning becomes more of a reality, MCPS will have to continue to engineer ways to ensure equitable learning as well as provide students and families with daily necessities.

Last updated: April 20, 2020, 4:08 p.m.

Tags: MCPS coronavirus

Mercedes Pierce. Hi! I am a junior and this is my first year on Silver Chips Online. I enjoy reading and writing about sports and politics as well as being a dancer and a baseball fan. More »

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