The MCPS parent survey indicates that most students will remain in virtual learning in the second semester
On Dec. 15, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) released the results of their hybrid learning survey which were shared with students via social media. Out of the 165,724 families surveyed, 50.2 percent (63,760) responses indicated that they wanted their children to remain in virtual only learning, and 49.8 percent (63,352) of responses indicated that they wanted their children to participate in partial in-person learning or a hybrid method. All of these responses are dependent on cases lowering to a test positivity rate of less than 5 percent over a 14 day period.
Senior Kasey Thorpe was surprised by the results of the survey. Thorpe believed parents would like the break from their children being home all day. “I feel like more parents would want to send their kids [back to school]. I think either a lot of parents want their kids out of the house or they would want them to be in a more structured environment,” Thorpe said.
Although she was surprised by the results of the survey, she understands the reasoning behind many parent’s choices. “Going back to school would cause a bigger risk for an outbreak within the school itself,” Thorpe explained.
Junior Lauren Berley agreed that returning to school may not be the best choice. “I'm honestly kind of glad that most people won't be returning because the numbers are still so high. I know that my family has taken a more conservative approach to this whole situation,” Berley said.
This MCPS learning survey asked parents whether they would prefer to keep their students in virtual learning, or whether they would allow their students to participate in a hybrid model of virtual learning and in-person learning in the second semester. Both options would still allow students to participate in virtual athletics and extracurricular activities. The survey also asked families if their children would need MCPS provided transportation.
The 38,513 families who did not respond to the survey were automatically placed in virtual only learning.
MCPS did not provide additional details regarding the racial, ethnic, age or religious breakdown regarding the survey results. The survey opened fronom Nov. 11 and was initially supposed to close on Dec. 3; however, MCPS extended the deadline to Dec. 7. During this additional four day period, MCPS received 20,000 more responses.
Families who chose a blend of in-person learning and virtual learning will be able to opt-out and switch to virtual only learning if they change their minds; however, families that chose to keep their students in virtual learning cannot switch to in-person learning. Thorpe believes parents should be able to change their minds and switch their children from virtual to in-person learning. Thorpe understands that the severity of COVID-19 may change; therefore, pushing parents to change their decision. “I feel like with the unpredictability of how leadership is acting towards the virus, going back may be a good choice now but as we move forward that assumption might change due to the severity of the situation,” Thorpe said.
In addition Berley explained that parents' level of comfort surrounding this issue could change based on a variety of factors. “MCPS should allow parents to change their minds because comfort levels change all the time. I'm sure that many people will decide that they don't want their kids to go back, so these people can take their spots,” Berley said.
The school district finalized its plan to reopen on Jan. 12. MCPS has pushed reopening until Mar. 15. On Feb. 23 the board will meet again to finalize the plan.
If proper metrics are met, students who chose to return to school will begin returning in phases starting Mar. 15, 2021. So far these metrics have not been met. Cases in Montgomery County continue to rise. As of Jan. 12, Montgomery County has a test positivity rate of 6.6 percent.
Isabel Corvington. staff writer More »