Letter From the Editors: January 2022


Josie Lane

Left to right: Editor-in-Chief Lily Freeman, Managing Editor Quentin Corpuel, Managing Editor Caitlin Cowan

By Lily Freeman, Quentin Corpuel, and Caitlin Cowan

The Whitman community has been keeping up with the news. 

Four days into 2022, we posted a story that caught thousands of readers’ attention in just two days — and has become the fastest-growing article in our website’s history. The piece addresses an issue we care deeply about: our editorial board called on MCPS to transition Whitman into virtual learning amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in our community. The article’s view count, more than just being a record-breaker, is a testament to our readers’ attention to this situation. 

As student journalists, it hasn’t always been easy for us to report on the current state of the pandemic. We operate out of a building where infected peers and staff are certainly among us. Since we’ve returned from winter break, the percentage of active coronavirus cases among Whitman students and staff has reached as high as 10.12%. But our amplified concern surrounding the highly-transmissible omicron variant hasn’t stopped us from remaining faithful to our duties as reporters.

Our publication hasn’t only pushed for a temporary reintroduction of Zoom-based education. We broke the news when Whitman introduced a new type of livestream instruction option and simultaneously revealed administrators’ responses to the school’s staff shortages. We’ve also traced MCPS leadership’s moves, including their removal of their previous “5%” COVID-case benchmark and the school district’s suspension of in-person extracurriculars. At every step, we’ve covered the Whitman community’s reactions to the changes.

Our coverage has taken shape in forms other than just articles. Our webmaster has been hard at work on constantly updating our new COVID-19 Dashboard, providing students and staff with ready access to data on the health and safety of the school community. School administrators’ daily case-report emails to communities have ended countywide, as have MCPS’ public, daily reports on COVID-positive percentages — so the Whitman-centric numbers aren’t clearly displayed anywhere except on our website. We aim to provide information relevant to our school that few, if any, other sources do; we go where others aren’t.

During winter break, we also covered an especially fragile matter that was unrelated to the recent spike in coronavirus cases. One of our reporters trekked to the courthouse to investigate when police charged three Whitman students with murder. Reporting on the alleged crime required not just knowledge of legal jargon but respect and empathy — it’s no simple task to ask classmates about their peers’ murder charges. 

Just as critically, we’ve also examined a variety of topics that weigh on the lighter side. One writer called on individuals to shop sustainably; another wrote about how her backpacking trip in the Alaskan wilderness shaped her relationship with the outdoors. And in early December, community members shared their takes on their 2021 Spotify Wrapped. These articles may not involve legal concerns or police documents, but they accomplish the essential: they tell stories that matter to Whitman students.

We don’t know how the pandemic will shift for the Whitman community in the coming weeks. The only thing that’s certain is that there will be more news to cover. Whatever happens, we won’t lose sight of you, our readers, who balance the challenges of these uncertain times with your commitment to learning the truth.


Lily Freeman, Editor-in-Chief

Quentin Corpuel, Managing Editor

Caitlin Cowan, Managing Editor


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