MCPS Wide Walk Out to Protest COVID-19 Response on Friday
Blake is coordinating a series of county-wide protests with other MCPS schools in favor of stricter COVID-19 guidelines. Those who wish to participate should visit the bus loop on Friday at 12 pm.
MCPS changed their COVID-19 policies the moment the majority of schools in the county fit the requirements to transition to virtual. At the present moment, there does not seem to be a plan of action. There is no required case quota, or any distinct number needed for closure. However, 16 schools have transitioned to virtual in the past week. Steps are being taken despite the few guidelines given to the public.
Administration has yet to respond to organizers request for an excused absence, despite only a signature necessary for approval. Students will not be excused from classes as of right now, however Springbrook allowed it so there is a chance.
Many students and teachers do not feel comfortable coming to school, as shown by the influx of absent students. “We have over 1,000 cases per day in Maryland alone when in March of 2020 schools closed for almost half as much,” says freshman and protest organizer Gray Tajeda. “I know so many people who do not feel comfortable coming to school because of their families and health. Transitioning to virtual for just 10 days will demonstrate whether or not coming to school is part of the cause of the spread.”
Organizers recognize the hypocritical risk of spreading the virus at the protest, but are taking steps towards keeping students safe while in attendance. Such precautions include social distancing and the potential distribution of masks. The risk level is the same as in person education.
“Personally I think there are more productive ways to go about this that will be more effective,” says senior Aminata Souare. “But it is difficult to find what other options there are.”
“I will not be attending the protest,” says senior Micah Dwarica. “When I see people protesting larger issues in this way, I don’t see much of a difference being made.” The option to just have all students stay home is counterproductive as the protest is for stricter guidelines.
Going virtual was not an experience many enjoyed, however it was necessary for safety. The mental health of students needs to be considered while changes are being made. The majority of students prefer to work in person, so measures must be taken to ensure they continue to succeed.
It is important to note that the protest is not just for virtual education, it is for stricter COVID-19 related policies. More numbers, more tests, stricter guidelines. The way the county is determining closure should be made more clear.