MCPS parents frustrated with eventual back-to-school survey; blame tech, communication issues

Many parents in Montgomery County said Monday that technical issues with Montgomery County Public Schools are getting in the way of deciding how they would like their child to go back to school once the buildings open again.

The school district sent a survey on November 11 asking whether parents want to keep their kids in a virtual-only environment or partial in-person.

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MCPS is encouraging families to submit the survey by Dec. 3, otherwise, the student will automatically be enrolled in virtual learning. 

Some parents told FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan that trying to fill out the two-question survey is not as easy as it sounds. In addition, they said, they aren’t sure if their answers are being counted.

“If I were to go in and submit it five times for my kids and I want to make sure that the information got there and I do it five times, then how are they filtering?” asked Michael Fryar who has two MCPS students enrolled in fourth and sixth grade.

“As far as seeing if I have even completed the survey is that little red box at the bottom that says the survey has been completed, yet I can still click the submit survey button again,” said Jessica Hasson, whose nine-year-old son is currently enrolled within MCPS.

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Ayesha asked MCPS about those parent frustrations and was told that families are able to edit their submission in their survey system until Dec. 3 and that only one submission will be recorded.

Meanwhile, for some other MCPS families –– the ones who have temporarily moved away for in-person learning –– the issue with the survey is not being able to log in with their child’s MCPS I.D.

“Just make it easy please, like can’t you just find a way?” said Khalisa Phillips, who temporarily moved to Pennsylvania with her family so that her two kids can attend schools in-person. “I understand you need student I.D.’s for vetting some of the responses but like why can’t you just have a way for, former parents?”

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MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said that the survey is for all MCPS families who are currently enrolled in the system. Families who withdrew or moved to private schools received a different correspondence, which is separate from the family preference survey.

“I’m just not clear on how all of this is being put together or what they are going to do with the information,” said Hasson.  “Because I don’t want to get my son’s hopes up that there is a chance to go back into the classroom.”

Onijala said that families who may have questions or are experiencing technical difficulties with the survey can reach out to them via email at

She said that it is critical the school system hears from all MCPS families by Dec. 3 as their responses will inform the district and school-level planning ahead of students returning in January and February.

Parents are also able to check in with their school to confirm that their response has been submitted.

Onijala also explained that families can pick a virtual-only option for the second semester. Anyone who selects in-person can change their mind at any time and move to a virtual-only option. 

When asked why parents who have already submitted their surveys are continuously receiving constant reminder texts and emails, Onijala wrote:

“We are doing multiple districtwide blasts on this to all MCPS families to ensure all of our families complete the survey. Those who have completed the survey can disregard our texts and emails.”