by Tori Newby ‘22
Beginning in March 2020, MCPS shifted to a virtual learning style to accommodate the health and safety of the community amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, schools have remained online, with a select number of students choosing to return to the buildings last month and even more students planning to return later this spring. Many students opted out of in-person learning due to pandemic-related concerns as well as a dislike for the hybrid model chosen by the school. Showing up to school over an hour before the first class starts and eating lunch spaced apart from friends drove many students away from choosing to return to the building, in addition to many students who have high-risk family members or are otherwise concerned about contracting the virus.
However, if President Biden’s vaccination goals are met, any Americans ages 16 and older can be fully vaccinated by the summer. Therefore, MCPS should fully reopen schools next fall in order to begin a return to normalcy in education. For students who prefer virtual learning, MCPS should create an all-virtual school for students to separately enroll in. A hybrid model where students continue to have the choice between in-person and virtual is unrealistic for teachers and students, so a separate virtual school is the most practical option for the 2021-2022 school year.