Families whose kids had connectivity problems asked to contact their children’s schools.
Frederick, Md (KM) Monday, August 31st was the first day of classes for Frederick County Public School students; sort of! Tom Saunders, the Instructional Director for Middle Schools, said more than 40,000 students logged on for virtual instruction. “Like any first day of school, students and staff are getting to know each other, and we’re really excited that students are returning,” he said. “It’s the first day of school which is such an exciting time for staff, and we’ve been preparing all summer long to–even though it’s virtual–to welcome students back. So we’re really excited for a new school year.”
The Board of Education agreed to go all virtual for the fall semester to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This instruction mode is expected to be revisited later this year.
Instruction will be delivered by teachers over the internet. But Saunders says there are opportunities for students to ask questions, or for teachers to call on their students to see if they understand the course material. “Throughout the actual synchronous learning experience, there is actually on Google Meet an opportunity for kids to raise a virtual hand so a teacher, just like in a normal situation, would know that a student is asking a question, and can call on that student,” says Saunders.
Despite all of this technology where virtual questions can be asked, Saunders say many teachers would like to be in a classroom with students. “The magic that happens when kids and teachers are together is just remarkable. But we are committed to making sure that this experience is as close to that as possible,” he says.
While many students were able to log on for classes on Monday, Saunders acknowledges there were probably some students that may have had some problems connecting. “And with any virtual experience, sometimes it’s on the side of the school system. Sometimes it’s on the side of the family,” he says. . “And we’re trying to figure out, if there was a disconnection, where we can problem-solve and make sure all kids are connected and ready for learning.”
Saunders is asking parents to contact their children’s schools if they’ve had problems with their kids trying to connect with their teachers on line.
By Kevin McManus