Opinion: Botched announcement continues string of virtual blunders

Due to inclement weather, FCPS switched learning to synchronous virtual instruction for Wednesday. The only issue? Marshall students are already virtual, and we are scheduled to have a catch-up day, not a synchronous one. Without a clarification, students were left to wonder what information was correct.

On top of the contradictions, the Marshall website never put out an announcement saying we had an asynchronous day in the first place. All the website offers is the generic FCPS announcement for tomorrow, which reads “All FCPS students will participate in synchronous virtual learning.”

After well over 90 minutes of silence, principal Jeff Litz offered some clarification:
“There will be no live synchronous instruction occurring,” Litz said in an email to parents.

But students never got the email, nor was it put up on the Marshall website, which still has “Students will have synchronous (teacher-led) instruction” atop every page.

The web of vague communications and contradictions is a hassle, and this cannot be a lasting issue with no end in sight for virtual learning, and the snow-day season and catch-up days just starting up.

I am scheduled to work from 1:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. tomorrow. The reason I can do that is because I do not need to be present for school. When we have issues like this, it puts people like me in a position where I do not know whether I need to cancel my shift hours before I go in for it or not, and that cannot continue going forward.

This miscommunication has consequences, and is part of the catastrophe that has been FCPS’ virtual learning endeavour. From a two-week delay due to Blackboard capacity issues, to a hacking of the county system, to a hybrid choice offered and then rescinded for no apparent reason, this is yet another example of bungled pandemic management on behalf of Fairfax County. Without changes, FCPS will continue to lose the trust of their community, and squander the reputation of what is considered one of the best school districts in the country.