Return to School at Glasgow


Rewan Farag 



On March 2nd, Glasgow Middle School students will start coming back into the building. FCPS has precautions set in place to protect students and staff from the virus. Some of these precautions include requiring masks, separating students at least 6 feet apart, cleaning and sanitizing, and so on. Teachers will be conducting concurrent learning, which means that they will have to teach both virtual and in-person students at the same time. Ms. Stefanie Vestal, a teacher at Glasgow, and Tania Luis-Silvestre, a student at Glasgow, have both been interviewed about their experience participating in in-person school. 


When Ms. Vestal was asked about what strategies she used for concurrent learning, she said, “I have been teaching in my classroom since November, and have had some students in my room on and off since then.  I have tried out a few different ways of teaching and been able to try out a lot of new ideas. I am currently, and will continue to use my white board and projector as a screen that can be projected through BbCU and to the students in my room.  This way all students see the same thing and they can also watch me interact on the board as if they were right in my classroom.  In a pre-Covid world I used my board a lot to model and demonstrate things and this allows me to keep teaching in that way.” When she was asked about how she feels that this would affect her job, she said, “I honestly do not feel like my ability to teach has been greatly impacted.  I feel like I have adjusted to virtual and concurrent teaching and will continue to do my very best.  I know that my job has changed in that it is harder to reach some students and many families have challenges that are hard to solve.  However, I am working hard to make any learning I can accessible to all my students.”


Ms. Vestal believes that an in-person environment is the best way for students to learn and teachers to teach, but she also understands that the events that are occurring right now are impacting students and their learning. “I know that being in a physical classroom together is the best way for students to learn and teachers to teach. I also know that is not possible in an ideal way right now so we will all do our best. I know some students will experience a learning loss – whether they remain virtual or come in on a hybrid schedule. I am willing to work hard to help all my students this year but also know that next year we will continue to work hard to make up any learning loss we can. I also know that right now some students and families have a lot going on and need to focus on a lot of other challenges so that impacts a student’s learning too.” She is also confident of Glasgow’s precautions/expectations and trusts the experts that have been informing us on ways to safely deal with COVID-19.  “I personally am not (concerned about my safety).  I have done a lot of research and reading and I trust doctors and scientists who say that schools can reopen safely if the mitigation strategies are followed.  I know and trust that Glasgow has worked hard to put policies in place and I am trusting students and families to follow them.  I believe that everyone wants to be safe and therefore will follow the rules. I also have been vaccinated and that adds another layer of protection.”


Tania Luis-Silvestre is one of Ms. Vestal’s in-person students and also has some similar opinions to Ms. Vestal. When asked how she feels about school being this way, she responded with, “It’s easier than being at home because you get more help. It’s way better you can concentrate more than at home. It helps me more and my grades have been going up and getting better.” She also thinks it’s safe for in-person learning. “It is (safe), there are hand sanitizers and you have to be 6 feet apart.”   


It seems like both Ms. Vestal and Tania have similar view points on returning to school. In-person school is a great way to focus and get more access to help from teachers and resources. What do you think? Is in-person or virtual school better?