Roosevelt and PGCPS Community React to Sudden Return to Distance Learning


Staff writer Audrianna Jones’s home desk for distance learning.

The Raider Review Staff

In light of rising case numbers in the Prince Georges County region, the school district has made the decision to close schools and return to virtual learning effective Monday, December 20 through Thursday, December 23. Winter Break will proceed as scheduled, Friday, December 24 through Friday, December 31, and virtual learning will continue Monday, January 3 through Friday, January 14.  This somewhat surprising return home has left many students at Eleanor Roosevelt High School with mixed feelings.

Senior Julia Knisley feels that “it was the responsible thing to do with the current case numbers, but it still sucks because I had just gotten into a good routine. And I miss my friends.” Sydney Endres, class of 2022, also shared the same sentiment expressing her excitement for this break from routine as she is “usually so tired from the commute (and) waking up early” and staying at home allows her to have “more opportunities to get work done.”

Despite some students seeing the importance of going back online to keep people safe, some students are frustrated and disappointed by the news. One student explains her frustration saying “I don’t like virtual school because I don’t like sitting at and looking at a screen for 8 hours”. She adds that when she’s in her room she is “not that motivated to do anything like I would in the classroom. All my assignments get piled up and when the teacher says that we are all in this together they still give us more work”.

However, students aren’t the only ones that have to once again adjust their routines due to virtual school.  Parents are also affected as their children are back home and teachers have to move back to teaching through zoom.

Parents and other community members are concerned about school shutting down but they are also grateful to see that the county is taking action to help prevent COVID.

“People should continue to social distance, only interact with people in their household, and get vaccinated. People need to stay in their bubble” says Tiffany Singleton, a parent at ERHS. Agreeing with Ms. Singleton is Ms. Jones, another parent at ERHS, says “Virtual school is beneficial because it keeps students more focused on school work without the distraction of their peers.”

“I support the decision to go virtual wholeheartedly,” adds Mary Lehman, Maryland State Delegate and ERHS parent. “It’s the right thing to do to interrupt the rapid spread of the Omicron Variant.”

Helen Alapa a mother of students that attend ERHS points out, however, that “as a working parent, the closure increases the amount of housework that I need to do. I also have 6 kids and so the noise has increased.” ​​Despite this sudden chaos, hopefully adults at home, students, and teachers will be able to make adjustments and meet halfway to make virtual learning better and easier for everyone this year.

Teachers and staff felt they were asked to make these adjustments rather quickly, though. Ms. Abby Holtz, English teacher, explains the whiplash teachers felt on Friday afternoon when the switch was announced. “I was initially frustrated by the announcement because I had plans for Monday the 20th that I really wanted to happen but that I found difficult to make meaningful in a virtual setting.” She adds that “with the appropriate amount of time to plan and prepare, however, I think staying virtual makes sense for as long as necessary.”

Ms. Destinee Cooper, Science teacher, is also “relieved that the county is prioritizing the health and well-being of students and staff by transitioning us back to virtual learning.” She anticipates that “virtual learning will be easier than last year since we have done it before and have already made in-person connections with each other.” 

Many parents and students share these same opinions with teachers and staff at ERHS. It seems to be a commonly shared sentiment that despite the challenges of online learning, it was a wise switch for the time being.

Curious about how the decision to close was reached or how the national and local media are responding to our closure? Check out the stories featured in our article round up below.