Covid-19 in Frederick County

Nina Milstein, Writer

With each passing day, the COVID-19 cases continue to rise in both Frederick County and Maryland. This unfortunate circumstance has prompted the delay of hybrid learning for Frederick County Public Schools.

It was announced by FCPS that there would be both a delay in small in-person instruction, as well as winter sports. These delays took effect on January 4, 2021.

There has been a significant spike in Frederick County COVID cases, averaging at about 200 per week.

Of course, these changes were expected, but they have also brought some rough changes and transitions. Virtual learning has taken a toll on both students and teachers alike, and it’s not expected to lighten up anytime soon. Most students have their own opinion on hybrid learning, and often, they’re in agreement.

“Staying virtual is the best option because of COVID restrictions,” says Olivia Mills, a Junior at GTJHS. “Most children don’t take the virus seriously, and they might think that it’s okay to be around all of their friends and teachers, and it’ll be hard to socially distance them.” Mills also stated, “Students might put in less effort to show up and do their work if they’re in hybrid learning.”

As cases reach their all-time high in the county, more restrictions are in place. FCPS is finding it hard to make plans for schooling with all of the ever so changing guidelines.

Bella Richardson, a junior at Frederick High School stated, “I feel like we shouldn’t go back right now because of how high the numbers are again,” also stating, “We need the vaccine to go through students and students need to have proof of vaccination before we can safely go back.”

The fear of having to go back to school without any sort of vaccinations or any strict planning is common amongst students and teachers alike. As the cases rise, that fear only becomes worse.

Virtual learning has been a big struggle for everyone involved. Students are having trouble meeting due dates, having consistent internet, and having the motivation to do the work. With all those struggles in mind, some classes are even significantly harder than others during virtual learning.

Rebecca Mullinix, a Junior at TJHS is taking a volleyball course at TJ and is constantly struggling with it. “I love volleyball, but I also feel like we don’t learn much or advance skills by doing it virtually,” she says. With classes that involve physical activity and access to space and certain materials, many students find it hard to do well in the class.

As hard as online learning is, it’s the safest option for right now. Starting up the hybrid learning model FCPS introduced will be tough to pull off, especially with the cases rising. On January 20, it was announced that the hybrid plan has been resumed and taken forward.

Despite the new option,  the best choice at this moment would be to stay virtual and avoid the risk, at least until the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available.