Library, I.T. Programs at West Potomac Still Going


Library, I.T. Programs at West Potomac Still Going 


Despite the fact that Covid-19 has meant that most students are learning virtually, several school programs at West Potomac, like the West Potomac Library and Information Technology (IT), are still open, helping to ensure that the school is still supporting students by helping get books and IT support to students.


Ms. Landon, one of the librarians at West Potomac said she wanted to give kids, “A way to access books, my passion is getting kids to read, getting books in the hands of kids,” She wants to ensure that students are still able to read and connect with books, for whatever reason and no matter what they want to read.


These programs have had their share of issues in reaching out to students, Ms. Parekh, the Technology Support Specialist at West Potomac said, “The biggest problem that we’ve had during COVID is try to figure out how to connect with you guys at home to get the update you need.”




The new library program is meant to ensure that all students have access to books, you can no longer go in and use the printers or hang out, but books are still available. They can either be picked up at the school, at the main or cafeteria entrance or Ms. Landon will deliver the books if students are unable to get to school on Mondays. Books can be reserved by going to Destiny, the library catalog, and Ms. Landon will email students when their book becomes available. Students can get to Destiny through the library web page where it says, “Search the WP Catalog.” The curbside pickup is on Monday’s from 1:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon.


The lack of transportation for kids is one of the major problems that this new library program has been facing, Ms. Landon said many kids have said to her, “I really want to come and pick up a book, but I can’t because I don’t drive yet and my parents can’t bring me to school until 4 o’clock.” This led to the library changing the curbside pick-up times from 1-3 on Mondays to 1-5 on Mondays. Some kids don’t have transportation at all, which is what led Ms. Landon to begin to deliver books to kids on Thursdays. This is one example of the many adaptation programs like these have made in order to continue helping students.


Technology Help


The new IT program involves submitting a ticket to the IT program, teachers will most likely have the link to it and can give it to any students who need it. Then if the problem isn’t too serious they will most likely recommend restarting the computer. This could be one of two types of restarts, first they could ask the student to just restart the computer at home and see if that fixes anything or drive to an FCPS school and restart it in the school parking lot. The second type of restart is more effective because the student is on the FCPS wifi. If a restart doesn’t solve it the I.T. program can go into the laptop and fix the problem remotely. This doesn’t involve accessing any student information, just going into the settings or the foundation of the laptop, at this point in time most likely the settings that involve the camera or microphone, and fixing it. However, if neither of these work, take the computer to West Potomac and they’ll give the student a loaner until theirs can be fixed and then they’ll get theirs back.


The IT program has risen to new prominence within the school due to the introduction of the personal laptops, which started last year. The way it used to work was that if you were experiencing trouble with their laptops, take it to the I.T. room or find the I.T. help desk in the cafeteria during lunch. There they would figure out what the problem was and either give the student a loaner computer while they fixed the problem or just access their computer remotely and fix it quickly.


COVID has created difficulties for both of these programs, but they have found ways to persevere because they feel that their programs are imperative to the student body. They provide support for the students by ensuring that they have computers that work and books to read. Ms. Landon wants to give students an opportunity to read books, because reading can “transport you into other places, other worlds, but it also can teach you so much about other people and other peoples experiences.”


One of the major problems that the IT program has faced the fact that our FCPS environment is meant to be “on our network and on our site,” Ms. Parekh said. This makes it a struggle to get all of the necessary updates that we don’t get automatically. The main message: Restart your computers at home at least once a day. This is just to sharpen everything up and keep things working well and stop any buffering. The student only needs to go to school if the problem is egregious, you should not have to go there if they are restarting their computers in order to prevent any problems or solve minute problems.


These two programs have found ways in order to operate around COVID. Some haven’t. However, the fact that these two have found ways to work around and find solutions for the problems that COVID has given us. These programs, while they are not perfect, are trying their best to help the students in any way they can, and they should be appreciated as they make “slow, but sure,” progress.