Staff, Students are Fearful Returning Back to the Building

Returning to the Building Over a Year Later

Virginia Bates, Editor: Shyann Snyder

There has been a lot of stress and anxiety from teachers and students over the last few months as Prince George’s County Public Schools prepare to return to the building for hybrid instruction. It’s been over a year since Charles Herbert Flowers had closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Student’s school experience was more complex with distance learning. Some did not compare distance learning well with in-person instruction and wished to return to the school building and now they may have the chance to.

CEO, Dr. Monica Goldson released a video on the PGCPS YouTube page on February 17 about the reopening plan, for teachers & students in the county.

“I believe that our plan to implement hybrid learning where students have two days of in-person learning and three days remotely will help to meet the needs of many of our students and will ensure that we continue to prioritize health safety equity and excellence,” Dr. Goldson said.

The announcement left many in anger. Many parents, students, and teachers in schools are aware that there are not enough resources in place to ensure a safe and efficient return to the building.

“How are we guarantee that you guys are going to be practicing, you know the proper standards for COVID, or how do you go about kids who aren’t wearing their mask, or they’re not practicing you know the COVID standards.” sister of student in PGCPS questioned.

“It’s not worth it to go back if you can- if you’re still doing online school just in person like with you- with your laptops and stuff” James Lewis, senior at Charles Herbert Flowers explained.

“I’m very- I’m ambivalent about coming back to school, I feel like it’s not safe but at the same time I miss school so that’s like the honest to god truth I’m bit my-my feelings towards school is ambivalent. I have mixed feelings about it strong opposing mixed feelings” Zena Whitworth, a teacher at Charles Herbert Flowers expressed.

That being said there are a handful of people that actually decided to go back to the building and potentially get back to the normal sophomore Sydney Cooper shares why she wants to go back to in-person learning.

“As a student returning back to the school building, I am also scared for my health and my family’s health however, this decision is best for my education and I need to be in a workplace environment where I can be more focused”

Staff and students have already been returning to the building following CDC guidelines wearing extra protecting equipment and following other standards on how class is managed teachers and students are adjusting back to in-person learning. However, some are still not comfortable returning while there is still a high risk of infection due to the number of cases in the county. Prince George’s county education association hosts a call to action rally days before the school’s reopening for teachers chanting and posting on social media “Only When It’s Safe”

“Back into a building with students who have not been vaccinated. Oh wait, did I say it is unconscionable to send educators back into the building without them being vaccinated.”

“I love my teachers and I appreciate what they do for me but they are scared I am scared and my classmates are scared.”

“Only When It’s Safe, Only When It’s Safe, Only When It’s Safe”

Educators association is still demanding COVID-19 safe schools in the community and some teachers are still requesting a return to virtual teaching but a message from the CEO, there are no other options unless teachers want their teaching license removed. You can support the protests against these actions by joining the call to action and also following the PGCEA organization across social media also for the hashtag
#Onlywhenitssafe