Parents, Schoolchildren ‘Logout’ On Virtual Learning On Tuesday







They’re demanding FCPS allow in-person classroom instruction.

Frederick, Md (KM) It was a protest without marches, banners and picket signs. On Tuesday, a number of families of Frederick County public school students “logged off” on virtual learning.

One of the organizers, Sarah Steinberg, says she and other parents want their children to return to the classroom for in-person instruction. “We want to be heard. We feel we’re writing e-mails to the Board of Education members like every week. I write pretty much daily e-mails, and I don’t often hear back from them,” she says. “And when I do, it’s kind of the same thing. It’s cut and paste e-mail, basically, tells the same stuff I already knew. I ask them direct questions and they don’t give me answer.”

Earlier this year, schools in Maryland were closed as a way to fight the COVID-19 virus, which was affecting the state. In September, the Frederick County School System reopened with virtual learning, where teachers present their lessons on line, and students follow along on their home computers.

On October 7th, the Board of Education decided to continue virtual learning through the fall semester which ends on January 26th, 2021.

“We’re frustrated and we want to be heard,” says Steinberg. “Sometimes in history you have to protest to get yourself heard. So we’re hoping that they will see that we are frustrated and we are logging out. We want there to be called an emergency meeting and we want you guys to be working on this non-stop to get a plan in place to get us back to school.”

The Board of Ed had considered a hybrid plan to allow students to attend classes twice a week, and do virtual learning at home.

Steinberg said some students who come from impoverished backgrounds can’t take part in virtual learning because they don’t have a computer in their homes, which means no access to the internet. “There are some 40% of kids in our underprivileged community that aren’t even logging on daily,” she said. “What about these kids. They’ve been forgotten. Nobody’s talking about these kids who aren’t logging on daily. And it’s becoming a higher and higher number.”

The School System does allow some students to receive instruction in classrooms, such as kids who are English language learners, special needs students, and young people who attend the Career and Technology Center. Also, schools in the northern part of the county are open for students who don’t have access to the internet.

Even though we’re in the midst of a pandemic, Steinberg says protocols can be put in place to guard students, teachers and staff against the COVID-19 virus. “I think that the children are more than able to do it,” she says.

Steinberg says her husband was diagnosed with the coroanvirus earlier this year, but her five children did not contract COVID-19.