Montgomery County parents, teachers frustrated by COVID spikes, staffing shortages

Posts on social media Thursday from Montgomery County Public School parents showed plenty of frustration about the return to school, including everything from staff shortages to misguided bus routes to a lack of communication with teachers themselves. 

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More than 120 Montgomery County public schools are now listed in a "red" category, meaning more than 5 percent of unrelated students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Now more than half of the district is going back to virtual learning.

The spike in COVID cases isn't just affecting the classrooms; it's also impacting how kids are getting to and from school. 

Buses once again didn't show up because drivers are calling out sick, leaving parents scrambling to find last-minute transportation.

Across the board, FOX 5 has seen parents concerned about students in school without any teachers or substitutes to teach them.  

READ MORE: Montgomery County Public Schools testing new system to curb COVID-19 threat

One parent tweeted that her kid's school had to handle sub shortages by combining classes and moving all the students into the cafeteria, where they sat doing nothing while being monitored by a security guard. 

"There have been places where kids have been unloaded and there haven’t been enough adults to take care of them," said Jennifer Martin, President of the Montgomery County Education Association. 

Another parent says the issues go beyond the classroom, with a huge communication divide between school buses and the routes they serve. 

"He knew that someone was supposed to take him home but that no one was there to do so," said Brandon Savage who left work early to pick up his son from elementary school in Montgomery County.  

"He was expecting to ride the bus home because he does so every day and I can only imagine for a five-year-old how traumatizing that is and as a parent, it’s frustrating to me because I don’t want my son to experience that frustration himself," he went on to say. 

READ MORE: More than half of Montgomery County Public Schools showing COVID-19 'outbreak'

It’s not just parents and students left in limbo. Teachers say they are equally frustrated by the lack of communication. 

"There comes a point where you don’t have enough adults in the building to adequately supervise and teach students," said Martin. 

The head of the union says they’ve been kept in the dark when it comes to COVID and safety protocols. 

"We’re not magicians. We need time to prep, to be ready to teach them, and we need time to be able to grade papers and call parents and do all those things," Martin said. "Right now we’re busy scrambling to cover for each other and make sure kids have adult supervision and that some kind of learning is happening for the kids when staff is not there." 

The Montgomery County School District not saying much, with a statement put out on Wednesday about the bus routes saying that it recognizes the issues and is addressing the challenges. 


FOX5 did reach out to MCPS regarding teacher shortages and the mishaps at the bus routes, however, we have yet to hear back.