For two weekends in a row, The Frederick News-Post has given virtual distance learning a thumbs down in its Yeas and Nays. As a teacher, I feel compelled to share a different perspective.

Two weeks in, my FCPS colleagues’ reactions have been positive. Despite expected challenges, most even say it’s going great. A middle school math teacher said she’s only had two students unable to log in to synchronous meetings, but none haven’t been able to work in Schoology.

A middle school English teacher said students have been much more engaged than in the spring. A first-grade teacher said he’s focused on making connections with the kids.

As a high school teacher, I’ve had a very positive experience with older students who are easily adapting to the virtual environment. In fact, several teachers I’ve talked with who teach AP and [International Baccalaureate] classes feel that this might even be a better option as the combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning allows more time for processing complex topics and assignments.

My AP and IB students have reported a reduction in stress as they are able to manage their own time. If distance learning could become an option for even some of our students in the future, creative solutions to everything from overcrowding to true countywide access to the IB Program or AP courses, which are only available at certain schools, could be explored.

Certainly, distance learning isn’t ideal for younger students or appropriate for all students. But I feel it’s a mistake to ignore those for whom it’s going well. Regarding the system outage last week, I taught almost a hundred students that day with no problem whatsoever. While my youngest son and I had no issues, my older son did, but he got in before his first class ended. It’s just not a disaster story. Give it a chance, FNP.

Joanna Nicklas


(6) comments


I think the general consensus is that none of this is ideal, but neither is life. We will make due because that is what we always have done.

I would rather make due than have to bury educators, staff, students or parents.


Not all communities, schools, teachers, or families have the resources generally available in Urbana. I'm glad many parts of the Urbana community do, but we can't pretend the experience there is typical.



I figured we would probably have to play a bit of whack-a-mole to target resources to the under-served or technologically challenged. That should be where are biggest efforts are put. It will be a never ending challenge, but worth every effort.


I completely agree with this. My child is taking 3 APs and calculus 3. Her classes seem interesting, the kids are engaged, and this is a great transition for the independence they will need in college. Of course they miss the fun aspects of school and extra curriculars, but the academic needs are being well met and with only some small tech glitches that the students and teachers have worked around well.


I was just on the phone hearing how glitchy the transition to Freshman year in college can be if you don't know the processes and have no classmates you know to ask how to do this or that. Parents are observing college underway and emailing college teachers. Fun times.


Calculus 3 and three APs. Wow, that is not typical. Good to know that many are adjusting well. I'll take any good news.

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