Are Covid exposed students achieving an education while stuck in isolation?

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Brynne McKinney

How kids are learning from home while exposed to Covid or have Covid

by Brynne McKinney, Editor

Imagine waking up for a normal day of school, but as you’re getting ready, your parents tell you that you can’t go to school because you have been exposed to Covid-19. 

So you think to yourself, how am I supposed to do school work? Am I gonna get behind on assignments? What about all of the people I’ve been with? Are they gonna get sick? 

Everyone is worrying about these risks, and the national news reminds us every day. About once a week I hear of a new FCPS student who has been exposed to Covid, or worse, has Covid. Students who aren’t vaccinated and are exposed to Covid then have to quarantine. Fully vaccinated and exposed to Covid students do not. 

This is a screenshot of the FCPS.org dashboard, which is updated twice a week. The image shows 100 new cases the week of

One of the biggest challenges with Covid is how students in quarantine are getting their school work done.

Last year it didn’t matter quite as much due to everyone being virtual, but now, with everyone is back in school, there are no more Google Meets for the students quarantining. 

It’s great. I love having everyone back. I love the positive energy. I love seeing the smiles. Even though we’re still wearing masks, you can tell kids are smiling. It’s terrific,”

— Hanlon

“When a student is sent home, I speak with the parents, teachers, and attendance so they know that the kid is in quarantine. I also remind teachers to work with their students who are at home and to be lenient when the kids come back,” said Principal Cynthia Hanlon. 

Math teacher Jennifer Weiss has been very supportive of students who have been exposed to Covid.

“I am reaching out to both students and parents. I am reminding both parties of what is available. When students message me with work, I provide feedback to support them, including videos to help further explain if necessary. The students [can] access the content on their own without being present. I have all of my content loaded – guided notes, screencasts, practice assignments – for my students to access. However, some, unfortunately, are not making use of what I have provided for them to keep current with content,” said Mrs. Weiss. 

Along with the students doing their school work through Schoology, Principal Hanlon said there is also an FCPS effort to purchase a 24-hour open tutoring program for students in quarantine. There is also targeted tutoring for students on Saturdays, after school, and in the evenings.

Since many students are going into quarantine, teachers have a weekly or daily planner so the students at home can follow along, but the thoroughness of those plans is inconsistent, and depends on the subject being taught and the content that can be shared. Some teachers are better than others at getting materials on Schoology.

Sophomore Genesis Maldonado was home for two days. “I just followed the daily schedule as best as I could for all of my classes. It was harder sometimes since only some classes had video learning and others didn’t so I had to use YouTube to understand the topic. My teachers only emailed me once after I asked them questions,” said Maldonado. 

Virtual learning isn’t everyone’s learning style. Some students need to be in the classroom atmosphere be able to ask questions and get answers right away, to learn at the same pace as the rest of the class. When they’re at home, they can’t ask questions and know if they’re doing it right. 

I think starting from day one letting students know it’s ok not to know something. It’s ok not to remember something. Letting my students see that I am reviewing with them FOR them so that they know I am not going to make the basic assumption that prerequisite knowledge is already there. ”

— Weiss

There are some plus sides of doing school from home. Students can do work whenever they want and sleep in, but since the teachers aren’t as lenient as last year, It doesn’t seem all that fun. 

“I liked being able to sleep in for the first few days but the cons so out weighed the pros … I did do my school work throughout the day and didn’t get behind, but it was overall difficult,” said Maldonado. 

Most students when sent home are taking things seriously and really trying to make sure that they don’t fall behind, but some are using this staying at home to relax.

Some are doing a phenomenal job of staying on top of the work and being a dedicated student. However, some are treating it as a vacation. It is frustrating as I do not think some understand the situation they are then putting themselves in upon returning to school – x number of days by 4 courses can be quite a bit of work to get caught up on,” said Weiss.

FCPS schools is committed to keeping all schools open.  Unfortunately, the virtual school is no longer an option. 

“There is a blended virtual program for kids who didn’t want to return to school. The program is already full with a waiting list. The downside is you also wouldn’t be a Linganore student anymore.,” said Hanlon.