With growing concerns surrounding the delta variant of COVID-19 and recent changes in some mask mandates, there are questions about whether school districts within the D.C. region are ready to handle more families who want virtual learning for their child, instead of in-person.
"I was told by my boys’ school that the virtual program was full for 2nd and 3rd grades and that my only option was to pull my boys out of school and do homeschool," said Sarah Cressman, a mother of five.
Cressman went on to tell FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan that she first picked the option of in-person learning but now has changed her mind because she doesn’t want her elementary school kids to wear a mask all day long.
Schools in Frederick County begin the school year on Aug. 18. A majority of students are returning to school in person and 1,000 students are confirmed for virtual learning.
"For our all virtual schools we needed to make sure that we hired enough teachers and we didn’t want to hire too many make sure that we did right by our county and hired the right number of instructors and staff to help and support the virtual programs," said Brandon Oland, Frederick County Public Schools Communications Manager.
Oland said this was a decision made back in June when families were sent an intent form to decide whether they want to keep their child at home for virtual learning or if they want to send them back to school.
According to the school district, everyone who is coming back will have to wear a mask inside.
"We are going to do our best to accommodate them but the reality is that we do have a waitlist right now for folks who are trying to get in," said Oland. "So we are hopeful that we can accommodate as many families as we can but right now, for the most part, the decisions for families made back in June are going to be what we go with in the beginning of the school year."
Khan also checked with Montgomery County Public Schools asking if the school district is ready to possibly handle an influx of parents who might change their minds about in-person learning.
"The deadline to apply for the MCPS Virtual Academy was July 2. Given that it is an application-based, fully separate program, families are unable to ‘switch’ to virtual learning," spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala stated in an email.