Note: PWCS will provide updated information as it becomes available. Last Updated September 18

Return to Learn Guide

2020-21 school year- FAQ

Key information about the Return to Learning Plan:

First Quarter

  • 2020-21 school year is underway with a 100 percent distance learning model for most students during the first quarter.
  • Special Education students and other especially vulnerable student groups, as feasible, are receiving some in-person services.

Second Quarter

  • It is the goal of the Division to transition to a 50 percent capacity In-Person and Distance Learning Model for the second quarter, with the option for students to remain virtual, while maintaining flexibility throughout to adapt to public health guidance as needed.

First Quarter FAQ

If you prefer video format, you can watch/listen to many of the FAQ on YouTube.

First Quarter Return to Learn

*In Progress*
 
What did the School Board decide for the 2020-21 school year
At the July 15 meeting, the School Board adopted a Return to Learning Plan that will have the first quarter of the school year as all virtual learning for most students. The first quarter will start for students on September 8, 2020, ending October 30, 2020. The goal will be to transition to a 50 percent hybrid in-person and distance learning model in the second quarter, with the option for students to remain all virtual.
In completing the requested ParentVUE information in July, am I locking my child into a choice of virtual versus in-person learning from the second quarter to the end of the school year? -added 7/23/20
No. This is preliminary choice to assist in planning. Parents and guardians will be provided an opportunity to update their choice prior to November.
If I optimistically choose in-person and then, closer to the time, need to switch to virtual, can I do that? – added 7/23/20
Yes, parents will be able to update their choices closer to November.
Would it be easier to switch from a choice of in-person to virtual than virtual to in-person, if changing is even possible? – added 7/23/20
Yes, parents will be able to change to virtual from in-person if needed. Once the 50% model is implemented, currently planned for November, parents/guardians will be asked to commit to the virtual-only for at least the quarter (specific details will be determined closer to November). This is necessary as in-person capacity caps will be needed for planning to accommodate social distancing requirements.
Will any students receive in-person services and instruction for the first quarter?
The Division is working on plans to offer some in-person services to special education students as determined appropriate by their IEP teams, and to the most vulnerable English Language Learners and students with interrupted learning, as determined to be instructionally appropriate and feasible.
What is distance/virtual learning?
Distance/virtual learning is primarily asynchronous/recorded/uploaded learning experiences and content delivered in Canvas, a learning management platform adopted by PWCS (see below). Distance/virtual learning also includes synchronous/live instruction and support and/or physical materials provided by teachers/schools to work on at home.
How will distance learning for this first quarter of the new year be different from what our students received after the spring closure?

PWCS has acquired Canvas as the Division-wide platform for virtual instruction and learning. In the spring, our teachers were not providing new content. Students reviewed and received remediation of content already learned. The Canvas platform will provide specific lessons tied to standards of learning and create consistent curriculum for students in any format (in-person or virtual). This new platform will also be connected to a PWCS-license of Zoom teleconferencing platform that will provide a secure method for live teacher interaction with students when needed. This method is currently being used successfully in PWCS summer school.  
Click on Canvas portal below for more.
Will there be grading during the first quarter?
Unlike spring where state directed no new instruction or graded assignments after March 13, new learning will be taught and required, for those attending in-person and virtually. Attendance will be taken, although the specific attendance requirements have not yet been provided by VDOE.
Where do parents go to see their students grades and assignments? - added 8/31/20
Parents will use ParentVUE to see their students up-to-date grades and attendance. Parents will use Canvas to see their student’s assignments.
Where do students go to see their grades and assignments? - added 8/31/20
Students will use StudentVUE to see their grades and Canvas to see their assignments.
Will distance/virtual learning in the first quarter be synchronous/“live”?

Yes, students will have scheduled live virtual lessons with teachers via Zoom following their school’s schedule. Our goal is to offer as much live virtual learning support as is possible, within reasonable time frames to balance screen time. Learning will also be done independently via Canvas. This is similar to the “normal” classroom, where live instruction will be provided then students will independently practice the concepts on their own.
How much distance learning will occur “live” with teachers?

Based on developmental stages/needs the exact amount of live virtual time will vary from elementary school (ES), to middle school (MS), to high school (HS). However, schools across each level (ES, MS, HS) will offer students consistent amounts of live virtual time per day/week with some students receiving additional time individually or in small groups based on need. Our goal is to provide all students with as much live teacher interaction as is possible. Recorded content/lessons will also be made available for families unable to accommodate the live time frames.
Will virtual learning have any scheduled activities/ be completed on a certain schedule?

Yes. Assignments are given due dates in the system and logged on the student’s calendar.
Will they have set times they are required to meet with teachers, watch videos, turn in assignments, etc.?

Yes. We will provide a daily and weekly schedule to provide some structure for students and family to use, with the understanding that there should be flexibility that distance learning provides.
Can parents who work complete distance learning tasks/ classes with their students on weekends and evenings?

Similar to other virtual programs, the lesson activities will consist of mostly recorded/uploaded (asynchronous) material to provide as much flexibility as possible. Distance learning by its very nature is intended to be flexible to meet the unique scheduling needs of each learner.
How will elective/specialty/ hands-on classes be taught? (PE, band, music, art, sign language, foreign language, welding, cosmetology, etc.)

We will be adapting the in-person experience to distance/virtual experiences with a combination of: live (synchronous) experiences consisting of demonstrations, discussions, presentations, etc.; recorded (asynchronous) presentations, instructional videos, demonstrations; and various assigned readings, tasks, assignments, papers, etc. For example, a PE teacher may demonstrate a fitness exercise (live or in a recorded video), followed by students replicating the activity, logging their activity, and perhaps reading about the muscles used and the aerobic impact of those exercises. Similar approach would be used in the other content areas.
Will the Division provide students with books, materials, and resources needed to support learning in virtual classes?

While many resources will be available online, the Division is actively looking at our different courses at all grade levels and the ways we can distribute needed books and materials to support virtual learning such as printed math manipulatives, art supplies, instruments, etc. to students as appropriate by the course and need(s) of the student(s).
Will high school sports take place this school year? - added 7/27
The VHSL Executive Committee voted to approve Model 3 in the re-opening of high school sports and activities. This model delays sports and activities until December 14 and keeps all sports in the seasons where they are currently aligned.

Model 3 adopts the Condensed Interscholastic Plan: (shown below)

  • Season 1 (Winter) December 14 – February 20 (First Contest Date – December 28)
    • Basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim/dive, wrestling
  • Season 2 (Fall) February 15- May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1)
    • Cheer, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, volleyball
  • Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26)
    • Baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field
Watch for updates to these FAQs as decisions are made on how the Condensed Interscholastic Plan will be reflected in PWCS. 

Canvas -PWCS virtual/distance learning platform

What is Canvas and how is it used for distance learning?
Visit the Canvas webpage for details.
 This video provides an overview of Canvas.
What does Canvas look like for teachers?
This video shows a brief overview of what Canvas can do for teachers.
What does Canvas look like for parents and how does it help?
Watch this video for brief overview of Canvas.
As a parent how can I get started using Canvas?
Watch this video for a brief tutorial on how to use Canvas as a parent.

Will there be more training for parents and students on Canvas?
Yes. Staff are currently being trained on the use of Canvas and there will be training opportunities for parents and students prior to the start of the school year.
Will the Division provide Canvas training for parents in different languages?
Yes, as with all essential communications, Canvas training material will be translated into all of the required languages. Additionally, live virtual parent Edcamps/trainings will have interpreters to ensure our families can fully participate.
Who decides what materials are put into Canvas for students?
The Division is currently working to develop and provide core course modules and material from a variety of sources to ensure a consistent viable curriculum to students. As with in-person teaching and learning, teachers will also personalize their courses by designing a number of assignments/tasks that will supplement the Division created material in Canvas. Ultimately, the teacher will determine what is assigned to students.

Health/Counseling/Support Services

Will face coverings be required?
For all students attending in-person, a minimum of three feet of physical distancing will be required and monitored at all times. As such, face coverings will be required for all staff and students the majority of the school day to include: in hallways between classes, common areas, classrooms, and on school buses. Students may eat in the classroom and face coverings would need to be worn as much as possible when six feet of physical distance is not possible. Face coverings will not be required when more than six feet of physical distance is possible, or for students or staff unable to wear face coverings due to a medical condition with written documentation from a medical provider or a documented disability. Teachers will work with their administrators to make plans to utilize spaces for lunch that allow students to eat as comfortably as possible to include using classroom spaces as needed.
Will health checks be required?
Parents/students will be asked to complete a daily health questionnaire and a temperature check prior to reporting to school. Staff will also be asked to complete a daily health questionnaire and a temperature check prior to reporting to work.
Does PWCS have a policy or protocols for if/when a student or teacher in a building tests positive for COVID-19?
PWCS continues to work closely with the Prince William Health District and the Virginia Department of Health. When PWCS is notified that an individual who has been in our building is positive, the Health Services team will work with the Prince William Health District to determine next steps and follow the guidance of the trained medical professionals. As always, we will send out communications/proper notification and take necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff.
Will there be a clear and thorough notification system for those exposed to anyone who tests positive for the virus (contact tracing)? – added 7/23/20
The VDH has developed guidance for schools parents and child care on contact tracing and local public health departments and school divisions are working together to ensure protocols are followed and individuals are properly notified through this process.
Will students or staff who exhibit symptoms be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to return to school or work? – added 7/23/20
The CDC and VDH does not recommend requiring a negative COVID-19 test in order for students or staff to return to school, instead only those who have met the CDC criteria for return to school should do so. The VDH created a release from isolation or quarantine guide to determine when those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to work or school.
What should schools do if an individual is experiencing flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms? – added 7/23/20
If an individual answers YES to any of the screening questions at or before arriving at school, they should stay home and not enter the building. If a student or employee experiences symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, move the individual out of the classroom or group setting, isolate in a predetermined location, and inform the school nurse or school health staff member. School health staff must wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including N-95 face mask or surgical face mask, goggles and gloves before entering into the room to evaluate the individual. Call the parent or family member of the student/employee to pick up and take home, refer to a healthcare provider for evaluation and 10 days of isolation before returning to work or school. If symptoms persist or worsen they should contact their healthcare provider. If there is a confirmed case of COVID 19 in a school, the local health department will work closely with school administrators to determine a course of action for their schools. Schools should follow the CDC Interim Guidance for K-12 for schools and use the School Decision Tree to determine school closing in collaboration with the local health department. Schools should follow CDC/EPA guidelines (PDF) for cleaning/disinfecting of space or CDC, Everyday Steps, Steps When Someone is Sick, and Considerations for Employers. The VDH will work closely with the school to make environmental cleaning recommendations, conduct contact tracing, and investigate any potential exposures.
Will PWCS provide face coverings to any staff or student who may be unable to furnish their own?
Yes.
Will schools be provided supplemental funding for personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Yes.
How much supplemental funding will be provided?
A total of $2.5 million will be allocated for this purpose.
Will PWCS provide any specialized PPE needed by employees as prescribed by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board or in specific roles (such as nurses) as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?
Yes.
Will individual schools have to pay for any specialized PPE needed by employees as prescribed by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI) Safety and Health Codes Board or in specific roles (such as nurses) as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?
No. PWCS will provide supplemental funding as required to meet the DOLI standards and/or CDC standards.
Will the schools be providing medical-grade PPE for all staff members and students along with guidelines on how to use it? – added 7/23/20
CDC does not recommend medical grade PPE for all school staff, but limits the recommendation for use of medical grade PPE to school health staff who may interact with individuals who are or become ill with COVID like symptoms. This is due to the supply chain challenges the nation is currently facing, and the efficacy of cloth face coverings in public settings. The decision for school staff or students to wear face masks/covering while in school is made at the local level. Designated school health staff will have access to training and guidance on how to appropriately use PPE.
Will schools be able to order specialized PPE to meet a specific medical or instructional need (such as a clear face covering or clear student desk/table divider) if needed?
Yes, the supplemental allocation dedicated to PPE will allow them to do this.
Will PWCS keep a supply of both surgical masks and specialized PPE for use as needed?
Yes. PWCS already has surgical masks on-hand for students and employees that may need one. Once the DOLI standards are established PWCS will order PPE as needed to match the requirements.
Can a principal make a site-based decision to use the PPE allocation for other non-PPE expenses?
No. Management oversight will be in place to ensure the funds are used only for PPE.
Will plexiglass or other similar barriers be placed in any high traffic public interaction areas in schools (such as the front desk)?
Yes. PWCS facilities staff will be installing such barriers at schools, with the costs funded centrally.

School Food and Nutrition Services

Will meals be available on days when students are not physically in school?9/2/20 - added 

Grocery kits will now take the place of student meals to better support PWCS families. Instead of daily meals, families may pick up these grocery supplements on Mondays and Thursdays at 52 feeding sites

Service Times: Mondays and Thursdays from 12-6 p.m.

Service Style: Curbside pickup at school main entrance.

Meal Types: Kits are FREE to all children 18 years old and under, and include a variety of whole grains, protein, fruits, vegetables and milk designed as a weekly grocery supplement.

Meals will continue to be distributed using appropriate social distancing and minimal personal contact.

All meals are free of charge to students age 18 and younger.

Meals may be picked up by walking up to the sites, or by driving up, which is preferred. Parents/guardians may pick-up meals without students present. Staff will request parents or guardians produce proof of student enrollment in the form of student ID, report card, or other official school documentation with the child’s name printed on the document and provide names of non-school age or children not enrolled in school, who are 18 years old and under. 

Full details and list of locations


Will breakfast/lunch be available at school, or does my child need to pack each day?
Yes, breakfast and lunch will be available at school or students can bring their own meals. PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services works in conjunction with guidance provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Prince William County Department of Health, and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). As a result, PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services, will be implementing new strategies that promote the safe and healthy serving of meals to students and staff.
Is it safe for my child to eat meals prepared at school? What safety protocols are in place?
Yes, kitchen staff safety protocols are developed in accordance with VDH, USDA, and CDC guidelines. All cafeteria sites will be supervised by a ServSafe certified food manager (over 300 staff certified). Per the VDH food employee reporting agreement, all staff are required to conduct a personal health screening survey each day prior to coming to work. All staff will be provided and will use appropriate personal protective equipment as recommended by CDC guidelines.
How will my child select what they want to eat for lunch? Will options be limited?
Menu models are developed to address nutritional requirements. All menus will be a modified, fixed menu, including two hot entrees (one vegetarian option) and two cold entrees. PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services will work with building administration to ensure lunch plans are tailored for their unique school layouts and situations. Elementary students will place orders in classrooms by either utilizing standing orders (students get the same meal each week) or lunch selections can be made at breakfast utilizing student rosters. For middle and high schools, students will continue to order in the line from a modified menu for speed. Students walk to cafeteria (while maintaining six-feet distancing) and receive “serve and go” style meals to take back to the classroom.
Will my child have to stand in line with other students to receive meals? Will the lines be spaced according to social distancing guidelines? Where will students eat?
Elementary students will be served in the classroom. Middle and high students will order in the lunch line, while maintaining six-feet distancing, and receive “serve and go” meals to take back to the classroom. Cones or tape on the floor will be utilized to maintain proper distancing in line. Special consideration will be given for classroom delivery to special education classes or classes that pose geographic/logistic challenges. PWCS Nutrition will work with building administration to ensure plans are tailored for their unique school layouts and situations.
Will my student still have to enter their ID number on the pin pad when other children are also touching it?
No pin pads will be used. To reduce common touch points, students will be identified utilizing rosters and/or ID cards.
My child has severe food allergies. If eating in the classroom, how will the teacher ensure my student is not exposed to allergens?
Building Administration will work to ensure students dine in a safe environment and will continue to tailor arrangements for specific needs.

Transportation Services

How will buses be cleaned/disinfected? Will the bus be cleaned between routes?
Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants are trained to spray “high touch” surfaces with the CDC/EPA approved disinfectant cleaner and/or wipes between bus routes as frequently as possible. In addition, drivers and attendants will apply disinfectant to their bus at the end of their daily assignment. Staff will receive additional training prior to the start of school.
Can the windows be opened on the bus for increased air circulation?
Yes, windows in the front and rear seats will be open for air circulation (as weather permits). It is important to note that all buses have air conditioning and opening the windows inhibits the cooling process. As a result, the driver may need to open additional windows in order to regulate the temperature on the bus.
Will my child be required to wear a mask on the bus? What if a child forgets their mask?
Yes, children will be expected to wear a mask/face covering on the bus due to distancing being less than six feet. Disposable masks will be made available to students who forget their masks/face coverings.
Will the bus driver check temperatures as children board the bus, or conduct a health screening?
No. Parents are asked to conduct a health screening as directed by the School Division.
How many students can we expect to occupy a bus and how will they be positioned?
All Students - one student per seat, 24 students on a 77-passenger bus in a “zig-zag” pattern. The use of high back seats and mask/face coverings will serve as a mitigating strategy for elementary age students and all passengers will be expected to wear a mask/face covering. Siblings can sit in the same seat.
How will my child know where to sit on the bus? How will the driver ensure proper social distancing?
Seats will be marked with the appropriate place to sit for proper social distancing. Bus drivers will help instruct students that need assistance as necessary. Transportation will also be providing an instructional video for parents to use when preparing their children for their bus ride.
With the limited number of students that can ride a bus at one time, will there be long wait times for pick-up/drop-off?
Due to distancing requirements, multiple bus runs will be necessary. Transportation Services will schedule as effectively as possible to minimize wait times. We can anticipate sporadic bus delays at the start of school. Our goal will be to assess routes frequently and modify bus stop times to make efficiency improvements.
What if a child gets on the bus on a day they are not assigned to attend school?
We recognize and understand that it will be easy to get days confused at the beginning of the school year. If the parent is not present, transportation will allow the student to ride to school, so they are not left at the bus stop unsupervised. Once at school, the administration will contact the parent to pick up the child from the school.
Will anything change with my child’s specialized transportation?
Transportation Services collaborated with several departments to ensure a seamless as possible return to school regarding all specialized transportation student needs (i.e. McKinney-Vento, private placement, etc.). Any changes will be communicated directly with parents on a case-by-case basis.
My special needs student requires assistance boarding and exiting the bus. What safety measures will be in place to prevent possible COVID-19 transmission?
Students and staff will, at a minimum, wear masks/face coverings and any other necessary personal protective equipment as needed. We recognize that not all students may be able to wear a mask/face covering.
Will buses have appropriate physical distancing between students?
The following applies to elementary, middle and high school students. One student per seat, alternating aisle and window between rows. Siblings will be allowed to sit together in the same seat. A face covering will be required for all students riding the bus. One student per seat equals 24 students on 77-passenger bus. Height of seats serve as barrier between students.
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School Facilities

How often will schools be cleaned/disinfected?
The COVID-19 virus can be eliminated on frequently touched surfaces by using approved disinfectant products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of products, which includes ready-to use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) ensures that the disinfectant products stocked in our supply warehouse meet EPA standards. Custodial Services’ training and quality assurance staff (within the Office of Facilities Services) partner with school custodial staff to ensure that proper procedures are being followed, and the appropriate products are being used for the safety of the students and staff. The disinfecting plan is two-fold: 1. Day custodial staff will disinfect all “high touch” surfaces throughout the school day and 2. Evening custodial staff will disinfect all classrooms and ancillary spaces each evening when the building is occupied during the day. It is our intent to perform any additional detailed cleaning on Mondays, as a result of COVID-19, and to perform any other necessary custodial tasks that staff are unable to complete when the buildings are occupied by our students and staff.
What cleaning protocols are in place if a positive case is identified in the school?
Custodial staff have been trained on enhanced cleaning procedures in response to a positive or presumptive case of COVID-19. The cleaning scope will be implemented based on the risk of potential contamination as determined by Student Health Services, in coordination with the impacted school and/or department. Custodial staff will close off the affected area(s) and open any outside doors/windows to increase air circulation as quickly as possible. Custodial staff will clean and disinfect with a backpack sprayer, or an electrostatic sprayer when necessary to ensure adequate coverage.
How will classrooms be cleaned between classes?
Staff will clean, as frequently as possible, “high touch” areas and desk/tabletops utilizing approved disinfectant products.
Does the school have proper air circulation/ventilation? How is the Division improving air ventilation?
PWCS recognizes the importance of proper air systems within its facilities and operates all of its Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in accordance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Accordingly, PWCS abides by the ventilation standards (ASHRAE 62.1 and 62.2) adopted by and enforced in the International Mechanical Code (Chapter 4, tables listed in section 403). In addition, all HVAC systems are operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and operations as determined by the engineer of record who designed the system. PWCS employs the use of computer building controls and actively monitors its HVAC for use and performance and conducts preventative maintenance as required by the unit’s manufacturer.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, PWCS Facilities Services department will conduct the following adjustments, as allowable, to ensure the greatest amount of ventilation and air filtering within its facilities:

• Conduct site evaluations of all current equipment to ensure the system is bringing in the significant amount of outside air already required by Code.

• PWCS will increase the amount of outside air into buildings prior to occupancy, and post occupancy, to flush our facilities.

• With an engineer’s consultation, PWCS will investigate the ability to increase air ventilation (above Code requirements), as long as temperatures and humidity can be maintained at a comfortable level for its occupants. Balance between increased ventilation and humidity must be taken into consideration (especially in warmer climates) to prevent elevated mold counts (greater than outdoors) in our buildings.

• PWCS is exploring the feasibility of higher filter performance by consulting with engineers. PWCS currently utilizes air filters that range from MERV 8 to 12 and where possible, will upgrade to a higher filter performance as determined allowable by consulting with engineers and staff. Airflow is drastically affected by filter selection and proper airflow must be maintained to achieve proper comfort levels and to prevent mechanical failure with units designed for a specific airflow/MERV filter rating.

• PWCS is exploring the use and feasibility of installing UV-C lighting systems on the coils of mechanical systems. Consultation with a mechanical engineer will be necessary to determine the level design and retrofits on existing equipment. The necessary intensity and power requirements of these lights would need to be engineered into the mechanical system to assure effectiveness.

Will teachers be able to open up windows (and doors) to improve air circulation?
While we understand that guidance/recommendations exist to open windows to bring in more fresh air, we would strongly discourage anyone from doing so in our buildings for the following reasons:
• Many of our HVAC systems are capable of increasing fresh air mechanically, while filtering and dehumidifying the air that is being brought into the building. Opening windows wreaks havoc on our systems and is counterintuitive to its designed operation.
• Depending on the seasonal temperatures outside, introducing warm air that is not dehumidified into a conditioned space increases the probability of moisture build-up; thus, creating a mold and moisture issue in our spaces. Specifically, in spaces that have paper, books, carpet, fabric furniture and other porous substrates.
The only circumstance we would recommend the opening of windows is when:
• The HVAC is not working and any available windows are opened to improve circulation
• A positive COVID-19 case is identified in a room and our custodial team is conducting cleaning Overall, we would ask that occupants give our building systems an opportunity to do what they are designed to do – meet comfort needs and keep them safe.

How will schools ensure proper distancing, especially in common spaces such as hallways, cafeteria, gymnasium, etc.?
Schools will be utilizing signage and floor tape for measures of proper distancing in the hallways, classrooms, gymnasium, library, main office, etc.
How will schools determine appropriate social/physical distancing in classrooms?
Floor plans with square footage for each space have been provided to each school to assist with determining capacity, as well as diagrams and recommendations for desk/table placement. Each school administration has conducted classroom walk-throughs to determine capacity based upon its contents and how the room is used instructionally to ensure classroom setup complies with distancing guidelines. 
What will classrooms look like for in-person students to accommodate physical distancing?

For example, a typical 800 sq. ft. elementary classroom will hold 16 students at a minimum of 3 feet apart.
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Middle School Classroom examples with 3 feet minimum distancing.
 
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High School Classroom example with 3 feet minimum distancing.

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Will restrooms have appropriate physical distancing in between sinks and stalls?
Yes, some sinks and stalls will be closed to ensure six-feet distancing.
 
What actions have been taken to modify facilities?
Schools will have age appropriate signage for each level, hand sanitizer stations, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, gloves, and paper towels in all rooms. Bathrooms will be stocked with soap and paper towels. HVAC systems will be running before, during, and after school to ensure proper fresh air cycles.

Technology

What if my students need to print from their PWCS issued devices? - added 9/11/20
Due the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), PWCS student devices are secured to prevent software/application downloading. We have encouraged teachers where possible to remain paperless in this virtual environment and utilize Canvas and email for assignments to be submitted. If students need to print, we suggest they email the item to be printed to a family-owned device, or contact their school to have the needed materials printed for them.
Will computers be provided by PWCS for students to use at home for distance learning?- updated 8/17/20
In the first quarter of 2020-21 school year, PWCS will prioritize providing devices to students at all levels whose parents/guardians have indicated to PWCS that their student(s) have no device(s) at home. Under the Digital Equity plans approved by the School Board, all high school students will be provided a device who need one as the first priority. High schools will replace older devices with newer devices as available, with a goal to provide all high school students access to the same laptop as needed. For middle and elementary school students, each school will work with families to prioritize distribution of devices to students with none at home. The availability of devices for middle and elementary will be dependent on demand and availability at the school. The specific distribution plans will be shared by each school closer to the start of school.
What are the guidelines for cleaning your laptop, iPad or other device? - added 8/28/20
A CDC-recommended disinfectant is an alcohol solution consisting of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water. Follow the steps below to use the CDC-recommended alcohol solution to clean high-touch, external surfaces:
  • Wear disposable gloves made of latex (or nitrile gloves if you are latex-sensitive) when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Turn off the device and disconnect AC power.
  • Remove batteries from items like wireless keyboards.
  • Never clean a product while it is powered on or plugged in.
  • Disconnect any external devices.
  • Moisten a microfiber cloth with a mixture of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol and 30 percent water.
  • Do not use fibrous materials, such as paper towels or toilet paper. The cloth should be moist, but not dripping wet.
  • Do not spray any liquids directly onto the product. Gently wipe the moistened cloth on the surfaces to be cleaned.
  • Do not allow any moisture to drip into areas like keyboards, display panels or USB ports, as moisture entering the inside of an electronic product can cause extensive damage to the product.
  • Start with the display (if applicable) and end with any flexible cables, like power, keyboard and USB cables.
  • When cleaning a display screen, carefully wipe in one direction, moving from the top to the bottom.
  • Ensure surfaces have completely air-dried before turning the device on after cleaning. No moisture should be visible on the surfaces of the product before it is powered on.
  • Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning.
  • Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • Avoid using bleach or any product containing bleach.
Why did PWCS ask families technology capability questions again when it asked in spring? And why are the questions worded that way? - added 7/23/20
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has mandated the collection of student technology access data as part of a new state reporting requirement. The wording of the questions was directed by VDOE. The collection of the data is being done in ParentVUE, as it is needed as part of the student record. PWCS will use this data to assist in planning and distribution of technology to support student learning both virtually from home and at school.
Our family is able to purchase technology for our student(s), what specifications does PWCS recommend?
Laptop specifications:
Processor – Intel Core i3 or i5
Memory – 4 GB RAM
Hard Drive - 64 GB minimum
Operating System – Windows 10 v1803 or later, Mac OS 10.14 or later, iOS 13

iPad:

  • iPad 7th Generation
  • iPad Air 3rd Generation
  • iPad Pro 4th Generation

Camera access – Built-in or attached

As a teacher, I plan to purchase my own technology, what specifications does PWCS recommend?

Laptop specifications:

Processor – Intel Core i5
Memory – 4 GB RAM minimum; 8 GB+ RAM is recommended
Hard Drive 64 GB minimum; 256 GB+ SSD recommended
Operating System – Windows 10 v1803 or later, Mac OS 10.14 or later, iOS 13

iPad:
iPad 7th Generation
iPad Air 3rd Generation
iPad Pro 4th Generation

Camera access – Built-in or attached

Can my student use a Chromebook for PWCS virtual learning? - added 7/23/20
PWCS recommends a Windows-based or Apple device (see details above) for best experience. A Chromebook can be used, however, some applications such as Microsoft Office 365 will only be accessible through the web browser and some specialty class computer programs (such as with certain electives at high school) may not be compatible with Chromebook.
Does PWCS have any discounts for families to use to purchase technology?
Yes, Comcast is extending its Essentials Program, offering two months of free service for eligible people who sign up for Internet Essentials until the end of this year. They also extended the amnesty program until the end of this year for people with bad debt. Learn more about Comcast Internet Essentials. 

Verizon has a Lifeline Discount Program (a government assistance program for those who qualify). Learn more about Verizon Lifeline Discount

HP is offering students and teachers special discounts on quality, refurbished computers and printers. Learn more about HP refurbished devices  

Is PWCS providing any Wifi internet access for students? - Updated 8/4

PWCS is supporting students whose families lack internet access at home. This support, to supplement work already completed by schools, will be provided in three primary ways:

  1. The majority of families will be provided support through Comcast Cares – families need to apply and then PWCS will cover the expense:
    • The Division will cover the expense for qualifying families for the school year, qualifying families can contact their school for a promotional code to use when applying for the program.
    • Qualifying families include those receiving any of the following: MEDICAID, public housing, SNAP, TANF, students receiving National School Lunch program (full details)
    • Applicants can go to: Internet Essentials website using any web-connected device, including mobile phones. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. In addition, there are two dedicated phone numbers:
      • English: 1-855-846-8376
      • Spanish: 1-855-765-6995
    • Find more details on the Internet Essentials website.
  2. For families whose area is not served by Comcast (such as those in rural areas lacking broadband) a limited number of cellular hotspots will be made available for schools to provide one per family.
  3. PWCS has developed outdoor “Wifi Hotspots” in the parking lots at a number of schools around the county, allowing students and others to have free internet access. Anyone in need of internet access may visit one of the PWCS school parking lots listed below. No password is needed. Find information for students and families, as well as a map of available school locations on the Information Technology webpage and the My PWCS mobile app.
Where can my family find discounts for internet service or cellular hotspot (such as a MiFi)?

Home Internet Service:

Comcast Internet Essentials 

Cox Connect2Compete 

Verizon Lifeline

Cellular Hotspots:

Sprint

T-Mobile

Verizon

How do I reset my Office 365 password? (Employee/Student) 
  • If you know your password and would like to change it, navigate to https://Toolbox.pwcs.edu and log in using your current username (the part of your email before the @ symbol) and password. Once signed in select the Change Password button in the upper left of the interface. Toolbox will provide instructions for setting a new password. 
  • If you don't know your password, use the forgot my password link at https://Toolbox.pwcs.edu and select Forgot My Password - Student. Follow the on screen instructions. 
How do I log in to Zoom? (Student/Employee)
  • From a web browser: Log into your Office 365, click on the grid in the upper left corner of the screen, select all apps, find Zoom in the list (it will be at the bottom). Or sign in at https://pwcs-zm-edu.zoom.us/
  • From the Zoom application: Select Sign in with SSO, if asked to provide a company domain enter pwcs-zm-edu, hit continue, You will be prompted to sign in to Office 365 and then prompted to "Open Zoom Meetings"
How do I log in to Office 365? (Student/Employee)
  • Sign in with your email address (your username with @pwcs.edu or @pwcs-edu.org on the end of it) and your password. 
How do I login to Canvas? (Student/Employee)
Log in to your Office 365, click on the grid in the upper left corner of the screen, select all apps, find Canvas in the list (it will be at the bottom). 
How do I get parent access to Canvas? 
You will need a pairing code to access Canvas, more detail on that process can be found on the Instructional Technology web page.

The canvas log-in page for parents is here: https://pwcs.instructure.com/login/canvas

How do I get a computer for my child?
Contact your school and verify they have you on a list for device distribution. Schools are typically available by phone on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but you can also email the school staff.  Staff Directories are available on most school websites. 
 

 

Second Quarter

Return to Learn 50 percent in-person/distance learning

Will the 50 percent model be staggered? Will 50 percent of students be attending in-person classes on Tuesday and Thursday, and the other 50 percent of students attending in-person classes on Wednesday and Friday?

Yes, under the guidance recommended by the Virginia Department Health officials, in the 50 percent model most students will attend school two-days a week in-person either Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday. Those opting to be virtual will attend completely remotely. Those students currently attending in-person four days a week in the first quarter will continue to do so.
What will a week look like for 50 percent model?

In School
Monday – Teacher planning/professional learning, office hours with live teacher support via Zoom available to all students 
Tuesday – “House* A” students attend, “House B**” students attend
Wednesday - “House C” students attend, “House B” students attend
Thursday - “House A” students attend, “House B” students attend
Friday - “House C” students attend, “House B” students attend

*Students will be assigned to a “House” to determine the days they will attend in-person or into a virtual-only house. 
**

At Home
Monday – All students and teachers. Office hours with live teacher support via Zoom available to all students
Tuesday – “House C” students, students who opt for 100 percent virtual, teachers who qualify for telework due to medical considerations
Wednesday - “House A” students, students who opt for 100 percent virtual,  teachers who qualify for telework due to medical considerations
Thursday - “House C” students, students who opt for 100 percent virtual, teachers who qualify for telework due to medical considerations
Friday - “House A” students, students who opt for 100 percent virtual, teachers who qualify for telework due to medical considerations 

How do parents go about choosing the all-virtual option for their students for second quarter?
Parents will be asked to review their survey responses from this past summer for Return to Learn preferences in ParentVUE, and update their selection of virtual or in-person for their student, or students, in the second quarter. If a parent/guardian does not complete the form, the student will be assumed to be attending in-person for planning purposes.

If I choose for my student to opt-out of in-person instruction for second quarter, can I change back to in-person?
Parents/guardians who choose to opt their student(s) out of in-person learning will be asked to commit to the choice through the end of the semester due to in-person capacity requirements. Students who begin in-person but later need to be distance-learning-only can be accommodated.
Why can't every student who chooses to opt-out of in-person instruction just be assigned to a teacher who is only working from home?

Class scheduling, staffing, and funding are done school-by-school. Due to teacher class-load requirements under Virginia law remaining in effect, even for those teachers only teaching from home, as well the complexity involved in ensuring students receive the classes they need (700 across all levels), scheduling is done at the school-level. Additionally, there are likely to be "mismatches" where the number of students choosing to opt into 100 percent virtual will not align to the teachers that are working virtual. It is unlikely, especially at high school, that the seven classes required for a student not attending in-person would align to seven teachers that are only teaching from home. As such, all students will need to be assigned to classes from their base schools and schools will work to match distance-learning-only students to teachers working only from home to the extent practicable, and then assign distance-learning-only students to in-person teachers where needed, with the potential for a virtual co-teacher supporting distance-learning-only students at multiple schools for added support.
Will the virtual learning be synchronous?

Best practice for distance learning is to provide mostly recorded (asynchronous) learning to provide maximum flexibility to learners but there will be synchronous learning experiences and support when teachers are not providing classroom instruction and are available to conduct those live online sessions. The frequency of those experiences is dependent upon staffing. Our goal is to offer as much live virtual learning support as is possible.
How much virtual learning will occur “live” with teachers?

The exact amount of time is not known at this time. It will depend on the availability of the teachers. As soon as we have the employee information on which employees are able to return in-person and which ones will be virtual and the information on student options selection, then we can schedule students and finalize the distance only schedule. Our goal is to provide students with as much live teacher interaction as is possible.
Will virtual learning have any scheduled activities/ be completed on a certain schedule?

Yes. Assignments are given due dates in Canvas and posted on the student’s calendar.
Will they have set times they are required to meet with teachers, watch videos, turn in assignments, etc.?

Yes, to some extent.We will provide a schedule to provide some structure for students and family to use, with the understanding that there should be flexibility that distance learning provides.
Why can't in-person classes be live streamed for virtual learners on at home days?

On occasion, but the recording equipment needed to produce high-quality, live-streaming video and audio is not available to all teachers. Bandwidth limitations for streaming live instruction is also a limitation. It may be used in select-classes for specific purposes, such as demonstrations in labs and similar kinds of experiences.
Can parents who work complete distance learning tasks/ classes with their students on weekends and evenings?

Similar to other virtual programs, the lesson activities will consist of mostly recorded/uploaded (asynchronous) material to provide as much flexibility as possible. Distance learning by its very nature is intended to be flexible to meet the unique scheduling needs of each learner.

Will classes be recorded and then put into Canvas to view at a later time?

Portions of classes may be recorded and uploaded to canvas. It will vary. The combined in-person/distance learning model includes recorded content from Canvas. The distance-only option by definition includes less face-to-face time than in-person models. This is similar to other online learning opportunities such as Virtual Virginia and the PWCS Virtual High School.
How will elective/specialty/ hands-on classes be taught? (PE, band, music, art, sign language, foreign language, welding, cosmetology, etc.)

We will be adapting the in-person experience to distance/virtual experiences with a combination of: live (synchronous) experiences consisting of demonstrations, discussions, presentations, etc.; recorded (asynchronous) presentations, instructional videos, demonstrations; and various assigned readings, tasks, assignments, papers, etc. For example, a PE teacher may demonstrate a fitness exercise (live or in a recorded video), followed by students replicating the activity, logging their activity, and perhaps reading about the muscles used and the aerobic impact of those exercises. Similar approach would be used in the other content areas.
When/ how often/under what circumstances will the school schedule/model be re-evaluated/ changed throughout the 2020-21 school year?

As needed, depending on the conditions that exist such as Virginia’s phase of reopening and any updated health information.

Transportation Services

How will buses be cleaned/disinfected? Will the bus be cleaned between routes?
Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants are trained to spray “high touch” surfaces with the CDC/EPA approved disinfectant cleaner and/or wipes between bus routes as frequently as possible. In addition, drivers and attendants will apply disinfectant to their bus at the end of their daily assignment. Staff will receive additional training prior to the start of school.
Can the windows be opened on the bus for increased air circulation?
Yes, windows in the front and rear seats will be open for air circulation (as weather permits). It is important to note that all buses have air conditioning and opening the windows inhibits the cooling process. As a result, the driver may need to open additional windows in order to regulate the temperature on the bus.
Will my child be required to wear a mask on the bus? What if a child forgets their mask?
Yes, children will be expected to wear a mask/face covering on the bus due to distancing being less than six feet. Disposable masks will be made available to students who forget their masks/face coverings.
Will the bus driver check temperatures as children board the bus, or conduct a health screening?
No. Parents are asked to conduct a health screening as directed by the School Division.
How many students can we expect to occupy a bus and how will they be positioned?
All Students - one student per seat, 24 students on a 77-passenger bus in a “zig-zag” pattern. The use of high back seats and mask/face coverings will serve as a mitigating strategy for elementary age students and all passengers will be expected to wear a mask/face covering. Siblings can sit in the same seat.
How will my child know where to sit on the bus? How will the driver ensure proper social distancing?
Seats will be marked with the appropriate place to sit for proper social distancing. Bus drivers will help instruct students that need assistance as necessary. Transportation will also be providing an instructional video for parents to use when preparing their children for their bus ride.
With the limited number of students that can ride a bus at one time, will there be long wait times for pick-up/drop-off?
Due to distancing requirements, multiple bus runs will be necessary. Transportation Services will schedule as effectively as possible to minimize wait times. We can anticipate sporadic bus delays at the start of school. Our goal will be to assess routes frequently and modify bus stop times to make efficiency improvements.
What if a child gets on the bus on a day they are not assigned to attend school?
We recognize and understand that it will be easy to get days confused at the beginning of the school year. If the parent is not present, transportation will allow the student to ride to school, so they are not left at the bus stop unsupervised. Once at school, the administration will contact the parent to pick up the child from the school.
Will anything change with my child’s specialized transportation?
Transportation Services collaborated with several departments to ensure a seamless as possible return to school regarding all specialized transportation student needs (i.e. McKinney-Vento, private placement, etc.). Any changes will be communicated directly with parents on a case-by-case basis.
My special needs student requires assistance boarding and exiting the bus. What safety measures will be in place to prevent possible COVID-19 transmission?
Students and staff will, at a minimum, wear masks/face coverings and any other necessary personal protective equipment as needed. We recognize that not all students may be able to wear a mask/face covering.
Will buses have appropriate physical distancing between students?
The following applies to elementary, middle and high school students. One student per seat, alternating aisle and window between rows. Siblings will be allowed to sit together in the same seat. A face covering will be required for all students riding the bus. One student per seat equals 24 students on 77-passenger bus. Height of seats serve as barrier between students.
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School Facilities

What about the use of water fountains in our schools? - added 9-13-20
PWCS is suspending the use of water fountains in its buildings. However, bottle water filling stations will remain in use. Schools will provide water upon request.
How often will schools be cleaned/disinfected?
The COVID-19 virus can be eliminated on frequently touched surfaces by using approved disinfectant products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of products, which includes ready-to use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) ensures that the disinfectant products stocked in our supply warehouse meet EPA standards. Custodial Services’ training and quality assurance staff (within the Office of Facilities Services) partner with school custodial staff to ensure that proper procedures are being followed, and the appropriate products are being used for the safety of the students and staff. The disinfecting plan is two-fold: 1. Day custodial staff will disinfect all “high touch” surfaces throughout the school day and 2. Evening custodial staff will disinfect all classrooms and ancillary spaces each evening when the building is occupied during the day. It is our intent to perform any additional detailed cleaning on Mondays, as a result of COVID-19, and to perform any other necessary custodial tasks that staff are unable to complete when the buildings are occupied by our students and staff.
What cleaning protocols are in place if a positive case is identified in the school?
Custodial staff have been trained on enhanced cleaning procedures in response to a positive or presumptive case of COVID-19. The cleaning scope will be implemented based on the risk of potential contamination as determined by Student Health Services, in coordination with the impacted school and/or department. Custodial staff will close off the affected area(s) and open any outside doors/windows to increase air circulation as quickly as possible. Custodial staff will clean and disinfect with a backpack sprayer, or an electrostatic sprayer when necessary to ensure adequate coverage.
How will classrooms be cleaned between classes?
Staff will clean, as frequently as possible, “high touch” areas and desk/tabletops utilizing approved disinfectant products.
Does the school have proper air circulation/ventilation? How is the Division improving air ventilation?
PWCS recognizes the importance of proper air systems within its facilities and operates all of its Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in accordance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Accordingly, PWCS abides by the ventilation standards (ASHRAE 62.1 and 62.2) adopted by and enforced in the International Mechanical Code (Chapter 4, tables listed in section 403). In addition, all HVAC systems are operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and operations as determined by the engineer of record who designed the system. PWCS employs the use of computer building controls and actively monitors its HVAC for use and performance and conducts preventative maintenance as required by the unit’s manufacturer.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, PWCS Facilities Services department will conduct the following adjustments, as allowable, to ensure the greatest amount of ventilation and air filtering within its facilities:

• Conduct site evaluations of all current equipment to ensure the system is bringing in the significant amount of outside air already required by Code.

• PWCS will increase the amount of outside air into buildings prior to occupancy, and post occupancy, to flush our facilities.

• With an engineer’s consultation, PWCS will investigate the ability to increase air ventilation (above Code requirements), as long as temperatures and humidity can be maintained at a comfortable level for its occupants. Balance between increased ventilation and humidity must be taken into consideration (especially in warmer climates) to prevent elevated mold counts (greater than outdoors) in our buildings.

• PWCS is exploring the feasibility of higher filter performance by consulting with engineers. PWCS currently utilizes air filters that range from MERV 8 to 12 and where possible, will upgrade to a higher filter performance as determined allowable by consulting with engineers and staff. Airflow is drastically affected by filter selection and proper airflow must be maintained to achieve proper comfort levels and to prevent mechanical failure with units designed for a specific airflow/MERV filter rating.

• PWCS is exploring the use and feasibility of installing UV-C lighting systems on the coils of mechanical systems. Consultation with a mechanical engineer will be necessary to determine the level design and retrofits on existing equipment. The necessary intensity and power requirements of these lights would need to be engineered into the mechanical system to assure effectiveness.

Will teachers be able to open up windows (and doors) to improve air circulation?
While we understand that guidance/recommendations exist to open windows to bring in more fresh air, we would strongly discourage anyone from doing so in our buildings for the following reasons:
• Many of our HVAC systems are capable of increasing fresh air mechanically, while filtering and dehumidifying the air that is being brought into the building. Opening windows wreaks havoc on our systems and is counterintuitive to its designed operation.
• Depending on the seasonal temperatures outside, introducing warm air that is not dehumidified into a conditioned space increases the probability of moisture build-up; thus, creating a mold and moisture issue in our spaces. Specifically, in spaces that have paper, books, carpet, fabric furniture and other porous substrates.
The only circumstance we would recommend the opening of windows is when:
• The HVAC is not working and any available windows are opened to improve circulation
• A positive COVID-19 case is identified in a room and our custodial team is conducting cleaning Overall, we would ask that occupants give our building systems an opportunity to do what they are designed to do – meet comfort needs and keep them safe.

How will schools ensure proper distancing, especially in common spaces such as hallways, cafeteria, gymnasium, etc.?
Schools will be utilizing signage and floor tape for measures of proper distancing in the hallways, classrooms, gymnasium, library, main office, etc.
How will schools determine appropriate social/physical distancing in classrooms?
Floor plans with square footage for each space have been provided to each school to assist with determining capacity, as well as diagrams and recommendations for desk/table placement. Each school administration has conducted classroom walk-throughs to determine capacity based upon its contents and how the room is used instructionally to ensure classroom setup complies with distancing guidelines. 
What will classrooms look like for in-person students to accommodate physical distancing?

For example, a typical 800 sq. ft. elementary classroom will hold 16 students at a minimum of 3 feet apart.
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Middle School Classroom examples with 3 feet minimum distancing.
 
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High School Classroom example with 3 feet minimum distancing.

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Will restrooms have appropriate physical distancing in between sinks and stalls?
Yes, some sinks and stalls will be closed to ensure six-feet distancing.
 
What actions have been taken to modify facilities?
Schools will have age appropriate signage for each level, hand sanitizer stations, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, gloves, and paper towels in all rooms. Bathrooms will be stocked with soap and paper towels. HVAC systems will be running before, during, and after school to ensure proper fresh air cycles.

Health

Will face coverings be required?
For all students attending in-person, a minimum of three feet of physical distancing will be required and monitored at all times. As such, face coverings will be required for all staff and students the majority of the school day to include: in hallways between classes, common areas, classrooms, and on school buses. Students may eat in the classroom and face coverings would need to be worn as much as possible when six feet of physical distance is not possible. Face coverings will not be required when more than six feet of physical distance is possible, or for students or staff unable to wear face coverings due to a medical condition with written documentation from a medical provider or a documented disability. Teachers will work with their administrators to make plans to utilize spaces for lunch that allow students to eat as comfortably as possible to include using classroom spaces as needed.
Will health checks be required?
Parents/students will be asked to complete a daily health questionnaire and a temperature check prior to reporting to school. Staff will also be asked to complete a daily health questionnaire and a temperature check prior to reporting to work.
Does PWCS have a policy or protocols for if/when a student or teacher in a building tests positive for COVID-19?
PWCS continues to work closely with the Prince William Health District and the Virginia Department of Health. When PWCS is notified that an individual who has been in our building is positive, the Health Services team will work with the Prince William Health District to determine next steps and follow the guidance of the trained medical professionals. As always, we will send out communications/proper notification and take necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff.
Will there be a clear and thorough notification system for those exposed to anyone who tests positive for the virus (contact tracing)? – added 7/23/20
The VDH has developed guidance for schools parents and child care on contact tracing and local public health departments and school divisions are working together to ensure protocols are followed and individuals are properly notified through this process.
Will students or staff who exhibit symptoms be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to return to school or work? – added 7/23/20
The CDC and VDH does not recommend requiring a negative COVID-19 test in order for students or staff to return to school, instead only those who have met the CDC criteria for return to school should do so. The VDH created a release from isolation or quarantine guide to determine when those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to work or school.
What should schools do if an individual is experiencing flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms? – added 7/23/20
If an individual answers YES to any of the screening questions at or before arriving at school, they should stay home and not enter the building. If a student or employee experiences symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, move the individual out of the classroom or group setting, isolate in a predetermined location, and inform the school nurse or school health staff member. School health staff must wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including N-95 face mask or surgical face mask, goggles and gloves before entering into the room to evaluate the individual. Call the parent or family member of the student/employee to pick up and take home, refer to a healthcare provider for evaluation and 10 days of isolation before returning to work or school. If symptoms persist or worsen they should contact their healthcare provider. If there is a confirmed case of COVID 19 in a school, the local health department will work closely with school administrators to determine a course of action for their schools. Schools should follow the CDC Interim Guidance for K-12 for schools and use the School Decision Tree to determine school closing in collaboration with the local health department. Schools should follow CDC/EPA guidelines (PDF) for cleaning/disinfecting of space or CDC, Everyday Steps, Steps When Someone is Sick, and Considerations for Employers. The VDH will work closely with the school to make environmental cleaning recommendations, conduct contact tracing, and investigate any potential exposures.
Will PWCS provide face coverings to any staff or student who may be unable to furnish their own?
Yes.
Will schools be provided supplemental funding for personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Yes.
How much supplemental funding will be provided?
A total of $2.5 million will be allocated for this purpose.
Will PWCS provide any specialized PPE needed by employees as prescribed by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board or in specific roles (such as nurses) as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?
Yes.
Will individual schools have to pay for any specialized PPE needed by employees as prescribed by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI) Safety and Health Codes Board or in specific roles (such as nurses) as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?
No. PWCS will provide supplemental funding as required to meet the DOLI standards and/or CDC standards.
Will the schools be providing medical-grade PPE for all staff members and students along with guidelines on how to use it? – added 7/23/20
CDC does not recommend medical grade PPE for all school staff, but limits the recommendation for use of medical grade PPE to school health staff who may interact with individuals who are or become ill with COVID like symptoms. This is due to the supply chain challenges the nation is currently facing, and the efficacy of cloth face coverings in public settings. The decision for school staff or students to wear face masks/covering while in school is made at the local level. Designated school health staff will have access to training and guidance on how to appropriately use PPE.
Will schools be able to order specialized PPE to meet a specific medical or instructional need (such as a clear face covering or clear student desk/table divider) if needed?
Yes, the supplemental allocation dedicated to PPE will allow them to do this.
Will PWCS keep a supply of both surgical masks and specialized PPE for use as needed?
Yes. PWCS already has surgical masks on-hand for students and employees that may need one. Once the DOLI standards are established PWCS will order PPE as needed to match the requirements.
Can a principal make a site-based decision to use the PPE allocation for other non-PPE expenses?
No. Management oversight will be in place to ensure the funds are used only for PPE.
Will plexiglass or other similar barriers be placed in any high traffic public interaction areas in schools (such as the front desk)?
Yes. PWCS facilities staff will be installing such barriers at schools, with the costs funded centrally.

School Food and Nutrition Services

How will school lunch be distributed?
  • Elementary school — Lunches will be delivered via touchless service to classrooms.
  • Middle and High school — “Serve and go” meals will be available to take back to the classroom with six feet distancing to pick up lunch. Per CDC guidelines, all components of the meal will be served to students; there will be no buffet self-service or food sharing.
What actions have been taken to train food service workers on new CDC guidelines?
Kitchen staff protocols have been developed in accordance with VDH, USDA, and CDC guidelines. All cafeteria sites will be supervised by a ServSafe certified food manager. Per the VDH food employee reporting agreement, all staff are required to conduct a personal health screening survey each day prior to coming to work. All staff will be provided and will use appropriate PPE as recommended by CDC guidelines.
Will meals be available on days when students are not physically in school?
Yes, methods are being developed, in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to distribute meals for students eligible for free/reduced student meals when not physically attending school.

Will breakfast/lunch be available at school, or does my child need to pack each day?
Yes, breakfast and lunch will be available at school or students can bring their own meals. PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services works in conjunction with guidance provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Prince William County Department of Health, and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). As a result, PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services, will be implementing new strategies that promote the safe and healthy serving of meals to students and staff.
Is it safe for my child to eat meals prepared at school? What safety protocols are in place?
Yes, kitchen staff safety protocols are developed in accordance with VDH, USDA, and CDC guidelines. All cafeteria sites will be supervised by a ServSafe certified food manager (over 300 staff certified). Per the VDH food employee reporting agreement, all staff are required to conduct a personal health screening survey each day prior to coming to work. All staff will be provided and will use appropriate personal protective equipment as recommended by CDC guidelines.
How will my child select what they want to eat for lunch? Will options be limited?
Menu models are developed to address nutritional requirements. All menus will be a modified, fixed menu, including two hot entrees (one vegetarian option) and two cold entrees. PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services will work with building administration to ensure lunch plans are tailored for their unique school layouts and situations. Elementary students will place orders in classrooms by either utilizing standing orders (students get the same meal each week) or lunch selections can be made at breakfast utilizing student rosters. For middle and high schools, students will continue to order in the line from a modified menu for speed. Students walk to cafeteria (while maintaining six-feet distancing) and receive “serve and go” style meals to take back to the classroom.
Will my child have to stand in line with other students to receive meals? Will the lines be spaced according to social distancing guidelines? Where will students eat?
Elementary students will be served in the classroom. Middle and high students will order in the lunch line, while maintaining six-feet distancing, and receive “serve and go” meals to take back to the classroom. Cones or tape on the floor will be utilized to maintain proper distancing in line. Special consideration will be given for classroom delivery to special education classes or classes that pose geographic/logistic challenges. PWCS Nutrition will work with building administration to ensure plans are tailored for their unique school layouts and situations.
Will my student still have to enter their ID number on the pin pad when other children are also touching it?
No pin pads will be used. To reduce common touch points, students will be identified utilizing rosters and/or ID cards.
My child has severe food allergies. If eating in the classroom, how will the teacher ensure my student is not exposed to allergens?
Building Administration will work to ensure students dine in a safe environment and will continue to tailor arrangements for specific needs.

Employee Information

Return to Work FAQ

COVID-19 Notification Requirements

As an employee, what are the notifications procedures if I test positive or believe I may have COVID-19?
If you experience any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should immediately leave work (if applicable), notify your supervisor and the Office of Benefits (Benefits@pwcs.edu or 703.791.8568) and seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider. Once you make the official notification, you will be directed on next steps including the completion of the “Exposure Disclosure Form” listing those individuals with whom you came in close contact (within 6 feet, for longer than 15 minutes) in the previous two days. Appropriate actions shall be taken to ensure all areas are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and any staff member or student that were reported to have been in close contact with the infected staff member shall be notified. When possible, staff are to maintain social distancing (6 feet apart) to reduce possible exposure.
What are the notifications procedures if I am a substitute or temporary employee and test positive or believe I have COVID-19?
If you have physically worked on site within the last 3 days and experience any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should immediately leave work (if applicable), notify your supervisor if you are at work, notify the Office of Substitute and Temporary Employment ( HRSub@pwcs.edu or 703.791.7897) and the Office of Benefits (Benefits@pwcs.edu or 703.791.8568) and seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider. Once you make the official notification, you will be directed as to the next steps which shall include the same protocol reviewed in the question above.
I have been notified that I was on the “close contact” list for an employee or student that is presumptive/positive for COVID-19. What does that mean and what do I need to do?
For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.
If you verify that you were in “close” contact with the infected staff member or student, you will be required to do the following: 
  • Stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 days, starting from the last day you were possibly in contact with the infected person (exposed to COVID-19)
  • Self-quarantine means staying home, monitoring your health, and maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times.
  • If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a face covering. This will help protect the people around you.
  • If you need support or assistance with self-quarantine, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance as well as PWCS EAP. 
  • Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath but other symptoms may be present as well. Trouble breathing is a more serious warning sign that you need medical attention.
  • Use CDC’s self-checker tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.
  • You may be eligible for leave under FFCRA or PWCS regulations, contact Office of Benefits at benefits@pwcs.edu or 703.791.8568 for additional information.
Someone living in my household is presumptive/positive for COVID-19, what should I do?
  • Immediately notify your supervisor of family member diagnosis. 
  • You should stay home and monitor your health for COVID-19 symptoms while caring for the person who is sick. You should also continue to stay home after care is complete. Caregivers can leave their home 14 days after their last close contact with the person who is sick (based on the time it takes to develop illness), or 14 days after the person who is sick meets the criteria to end home isolation.
  • Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath but other symptoms may be present as well. Trouble breathing is a more serious warning sign that you need medical attention.
  • Use CDC’s self-checker tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.
  • You may be eligible for leave under FFCRA or PWCS regulations, contact Office of Benefits at benefits@pwcs.edu or 703.791.8568 for additional information.
I received an email stating there was a presumptive/positive case at my work location/school and am scheduled to report tomorrow. Should I go to work?
Out of an abundance of caution, when PWCS receives notice that an employee or student (that have been onsite at a PWCS facility the last 14 days) is presumptive or positive for COVID-19, the appropriate school community is notified. Additional notifications will be made to those individuals on the “close contact” list of the infected person. For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the infected person was isolated. Individual staff members who may be at risk because of a staff member who tested positive will be notified and provided additional instructions. If you are not contacted directly and notified that you were on the “close contact” list of the infected employee, you should report to work as scheduled.

Instruction and the Learning Management Platform and Student Schedules

Will teachers assigned to in-person instruction be responsible for providing learning materials for students on their virtual learning days?
The Division will be implementing the School Board’s approved all-virtual model with consideration for in-person learning for vulnerable students such as English Learners, students with "interrupted learning" and students with disabilities whose needs cannot be met through virtual instruction as determined by the IEP team.

Most teachers will be responsible for planning for both live virtual and recorded distance learning for students in the first quarter of the fall. Teachers will utilize Canvas for recorded/uploaded content. To assist teachers and ensure a consistent and viable curriculum, PWCS is developing Division core course modules for teachers. Teachers will be able to personalize these modules by adding recorded content, materials, and resources on Canvas. As appropriate, some teachers may need to plan for and deliver in-person instruction.
What platform(s) will be used to provide virtual learning, and will schools/ teachers have a choice in what they use?
Teachers at all levels will use the PWCS Canvas Learning Management System for distance/virtual learning along with other tools such as Zoom, Nearpod. Many teachers have already been trained on Canvas. The Offices of Professional Learning, Student Learning, English Learner Programs and Services, and Information Technology will continue to collaborate and provide training opportunities to teachers throughout the summer for this new learning management system as well as the other tools and virtual best practices for the full range of learners.
Canvas and The Hub both have areas to enter student grades. Where should I enter the grades for my students? -added August 31
All grades for students will be entered into The Hub, the PWCS system of record. Individual assignment comments can be given to students in Canvas for immediate feedback.
As a teacher where can I find additional support for grading or assignment practices using Canvas? - added 8/31/20
Teachers should work with their school’s ITC or visit PWCS.edu Canvas and Zoom page – look under the Teacher tab.
Will teachers and students be assigned to different schools under this model (virtually or in person)?
One of the primary goals in the PWCS Return to New Learning Plan is to provide families with choice in learning format (in-person or online) for their students. Our goal is to keep students connected with the school they will be/would be attending in the fall. In select instances, some all-virtual teachers may be assigned as co-teachers in order to fully support distance-only students. This may involve coordinating assignments across schools in the Division. Scheduling for the fall is underway and will be informed by the student and staff survey results.
Beyond keeping children from the same family together, do schools have any flexibility in how they build their master schedules to group students with like needs in the same classes on the same days?
Beyond trying to keep children from the same family on the same schedule, schools will continue to create student class assignments that best meet the student’s needs as they would under normal/routine operating conditions.
If students are only in the building for two days each week, do I need to report for work on off days?
Monday is scheduled to be an all-virtual day in the Division. In-person schoolwork schedules will depend upon finalized student schedules for delivery of educational services and the corresponding staffing needs and availability.
What if there are not enough substitute teachers to accommodate absences?
The surveys should help determine how many students and staff will report in-person. We anticipate that the virtual setting may decrease the need of substitute teachers, however the survey will help us identify the amount of staff available to cover. Since there will be fewer students reporting, other staff may be available to provide coverage in an emergency. Coverage may involve shifting staff members (such as teacher assistants) to meet students' needs. Additionally, in the past, interest in substitute teaching has been influenced by unemployment rates. Higher unemployment rates typically increase the number of substitute applicants.
Can teachers choose to work from their building if in the 1st quarter all their students are remote?
Yes. Principals may allow teachers to work from their school if needed (such as to use the school network, if they do not have home internet connection).

Employee Assignments, Schedules and Telework

Will any employee be furloughed in the 1st quarter?
No. There are no plans to furlough any employee in the 1st quarter, as all employees will be needed to implement in-person learning for some students, as well as the expectation to return to in-person learning for most students in the 2nd quarter. Additionally, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE): "strongly encourages every division to avoid furloughs if at all possible. VDOE encourages divisions to strive, in consultation with their school boards, division attorneys and human resource professionals, to fully employ and accommodate the needs of staff in any way possible during this public health crisis."
Will telework and leave policies for staff remain in place for the 2020-2021 school year to address medical and childcare concerns?
PWCS is revising the telework regulation to better address teleworking options moving forward. To the extent that existing policies or regulations are in conflict with recent state or federal laws or regulations enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or to any applicable emergency orders, or where the School Board or Superintendent of Schools otherwise deem it necessary due to special or emergency circumstances arising out of the pandemic, the School Board has the authority to waive such policies and the Superintendent of Schools has the authority to waive such regulations, or portions thereof, under PWCS Policy 102, “Formulation and Adoption of Policies and Regulations.”  More about employee leave.
How will teachers be selected to teach virtually?
After the School Division has a clear understanding of the student demand for online learning, the staffing needs for telework will be established. Telework placements will be contingent upon student enrollment numbers in the online programs and tiered by teachers eligible for accommodations under federal law; family medical needs; and childcare needs. Instructional staff were asked to indicate medical/childcare concerns in the employee form regarding the return to work onsite. Telework placements are not guaranteed and will be tiered as follows:
  • Student demand will drive the ability to grant teacher requests for telework.
  • Individual medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as defined by the CDC.
  • A member of your household has medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness form COVID-19 as defined by the CDC.
  • Lack of childcare due to school/childcare closures as a result of the pandemic.

Teachers are encouraged to provide their information to Human Resources. Teachers' building level principal will discuss any special requests or accommodations that may be needed to support the work of teaching virtually or in person. Specific needs and requests will be addressed on a case by case basis.

Staff who receive approval from their principal or supervisor to on occasion work at school during the first quarter, must seek the approval of their principal to bring their school age student with them. The teacher would be responsible for the supervision of their student who is required to stay in the classroom with the parent. The child is subject to proper health protocols (PPE, social distancing) as the teacher and child move into and out of the building. This arrangement is subject to the student's presence not interfering with the teacher's work.

Will employees be asked their work preferences for working in person or virtually?

 Telework is not an option for all positions based on the requirements of the job. However, where it is a feasible option, there may be opportunities for employees to express their preferences. For instructional roles, student demand will drive the ability to grant teacher requests for virtual work and priority will be given to those with individual medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as defined by the CDC. Determination of telework for some positions will be made on a case by case basis by the budget holder in consultation with the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services.

If a teacher or staff member is working full-time virtually, will they be responsible for attending any in-person meetings?
All efforts will be made to accommodate virtual meetings. There may be circumstances that a staff member may have to come to the physical worksite. In that instance, he/she should work out a plan with his/her administrator.
I am told that I cannot telework, what happens next?
Employees who perform functions that cannot be accomplished remotely or whose presence in the workplace ensures continuity of operations shall report to work at the direction of their supervisor. In certain instances, administrators may use alternative scheduling for areas that are not conducive to teleworking in order to limit physical contact between staff.
I was told I cannot telework at the present time but would like to telework to lessen the risk of getting sick. May I do so?
Some employees perform functions that cannot be accomplished remotely or whose presence in the workplace ensures continuity of operations and, therefore, there is no telework option for these employees. Such employees may request (via their administrator) to use their leave accruals in accordance with PWCS leave regulations. Approval is subject to administrator discretion based on operational needs.
While teleworking, I have scheduled leave or medical appointments. What do I do?
Employees should continue to utilize appropriate leave as approved by their administrator and use sick leave to attend medical appointments. This time shall be reported in Kronos appropriately. More about employee leave.
If I do not feel safe coming to work and I am eligible for retirement, can I be released from my contract without prejudice and retire?
If your intention is to retire, you should notify the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services immediately. This will allow your supervisor the best opportunity to secure a highly qualified replacement for you so that the continuation of instruction or work is not disrupted.
When will I be expected to report to work onsite?
Each employee will work with their individual supervisor to establish the date to report to work on site. This will be determined by such factors as contract start or work start date based upon the specific position.
Will there be required training in order for staff to return to work?
Yes, all staff will be required to access mandatory training prior to returning to work. The requirements will be specific to each employee’s role within the Division. Topics may include:
  • Return to work requirements and attestation requirements for employees (HR Records).
  • Safe workplace practices (video).
  • Canvas and Learning Management System (school-based staff).
Teachers worry that if they teach online, will they lose their position to be able to rejoin the same faculty at the same school the next year (or when we return to normal)?
The results of the Employee Return to Work Form, the decision of the School Board to support the particular option for our return to learning, and the input from families in the follow-up survey, will determine how we will staff our individual schools in terms of in-person, or virtual teaching. Every attempt will be made to be fair, consistent, and supportive of all of our employees.
What are our plans for training subs on health safety protocols? Are we going to train our subs to access and navigate Canvas? Or will the teacher’s class be folded into an online class until the teacher recovers, in the situation of a teacher out with COVID-19?
The Office of Substitute and Temporary Employment sent out a survey in order to ascertain which substitutes are planning to work at schools upon student return. Those substitutes who wish to remain active will receive training in safe workplace practices in relation to COVID-19. All new substitutes will receive this training as part of their orientation.
 
Are we anticipating requiring some teachers to teach virtually, even if they would prefer to teach in person? And vice versa? 
The results of the Employee Return to Work Form, the decision of the School Board to support the particular plan for return to learning, and the input from families in the follow-up survey, will determine the staffing plan for our individual schools in terms of virtual and in-person teaching assignments.
I have requested to teach virtually when students return to school in September. If I complete my required responsibilities, can I tutor other students in my neighborhood or accept other employment? - added 7/24/20
Employees of Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) may not accept employment during regular work hours or during time that conflicts with the effective performance of their PWCS job duties without using approved leave. Accepting additional compensation for teaching students during the teacher workday reflects adversely on the School Division and could create a potential conflict of interest. Similarly, teaching students privately or preparing materials to do so during the teacher workday, while also receiving a salary from PWCS is a prohibited conflict of interest.
Regulation 503.04-1, “Conflict of Interest,” states that it is a conflict of interest for PWCS employees to take advantage of their relationships or access to students, parents/guardians, employees, or others doing business with the School Division for personal benefit. It is also a conflict of interest for a PWCS employee to use their positions, PWCS resources and/or confidential information acquired by virtue of their employment with PWCS to benefit another individual. Similarly, it is a conflict to accept gifts, favors, and other benefits which may tend to influence an employee in the performance of his/her duties or to use one’s position as a PWCS employee for one’s own economic benefit. It is NEVER appropriate to accept additional compensation to teach students assigned to your class or your caseload. We encourage you to review Regulations 503.04-1, “Conflict of Interest,” and 591.1, “Employment Outside of Prince William County Public Schools.”
The School Division reserves the right to require employees to provide information on outside employment. It is incumbent upon employees to disclose potential conflicts of interest to PWCS in advance and to seek prior guidance regarding conduct or circumstances which raise potential concerns. Questions regarding real or potential conflicts may be submitted to the Associate Superintendent for Human Resources.
Will teachers continue to have a duty-free lunch? - added 8-3-20
Although it’s not required by VA code, PWCS will continue to make every effort to ensure that teachers have a duty-free lunch period whenever possible. To that end, there have been many planning meetings we have been involved in and the scope of ideas from our principals and the Return to Learning task force. While nothing has been finalized, the following options have been discussed and in many cases multiple formats will be adopted to best meet the needs of our students and teachers:
  • Utilizing the cafeteria with Administration coverage when available per health and safety guidelines
  • Utilizing outdoor space with Administration coverage similar to a cafeteria service model
  • Rotating lunches for staff during encore periods. Example: 5 encore could relieve 5 teachers per shift
  • Utilizing TA’s or paraprofessionals for recess coverage or rotating coverage to allow the lunch period for a number of teachers
  • Hiring additional Cafeteria Monitors for shorter durations. Example: Presently 2-3 monitors per school for 2-4 hours each. Switch to 4-6 monitors for 1-2 hours for coverage and rotation
  • Utilizing non-core content specific teachers for coverage rotations

Safety at Work

Will staff who exhibit symptoms be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to return to school or work? - added 7/30
A negative COVID-19 test is not required in order for staff to return to work or school, instead only those who have met the CDC criteria for return to school should do so. The VDH created a release from isolation or quarantine infographic to determine when those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to work or school. Consult with the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services to develop a plan for returning to work at benefits@pwcs.edu. (As published by Virginia Department of Education)
When can individuals with symptoms of COVID 19 discontinue home isolation? - added 7/30
The Center for Disease Control has updated information (7/17/20) on when isolation for people with COVID 19 symptoms recovering at home or other non-health care setting can be discontinued. Those individuals isolating due to COVID 19 can now discontinue isolation if fever-free without use of fever reducing medication for at least 24 hours and with improvement in symptoms associated with COVID 19. This is a change from the previous requirement of being fever free without use of fever reducing medication for 72 hours and improvement of respiratory symptoms. COVID 19 symptoms may include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, a new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. This guidance is based on available information about COVID-19 and subject to change as additional information becomes available. Consult with the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services to develop a plan for returning to work at benefits@pwcs.edu. (As published by Virginia Department of Education)
How will social distancing be enforced and how will situations be handled when students are not adhering to the expectations?
The expectation to maintain social distancing has been and will continue to be communicated to parents, students and staff. Staff will set the expectation, model, and instruct on the importance of this measure, positively reinforce and know that there will be some challenges due to the various developmental levels of students. The compliance to this policy would consider factors of student understanding and needs based on developmental levels, similar to other expectations set by schools. Teams often consider individual factors when addressing behavioral concerns and this will be the same for the practice of social distancing.
Are employees expected to wear face coverings in the workplace?
All Prince William County Public Schools employees will be required to wear face coverings at work when 6 feet of physical distance is not possible as follows: When meeting with members of the public. When meeting with other staff members. When in classrooms where there is no certainty that 6 feet of distance can be maintained from other staff members and students. When entering, exiting, traveling through the inside of public or common areas of any PWCS building (these include but are not limited to hallways, stairwells, elevators, restrooms, lobbies, and customer service areas). When walking or working in non-public departmental areas where other staff are present and a 6-feet physical distance cannot always be maintained (these include but are not limited to common copier/printer areas, break areas, offices with more than one occupant in the single office). Employees must wear face coverings in their individual cubicles if 6 feet of distancing from other staff members cannot be consistently maintained as may be the case in smaller cubicles. Employees do not have to wear face coverings in offices unless meeting with other employees. When conducting outdoor PWCS work activities near others where a minimum 6 feet physical distance cannot always be maintained. When operating or riding in any PWCS vehicle containing more than one person. PWCS will honor these identified exceptions for staff and patrons: while eating and drinking; while exercising; for any person who has trouble breathing or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance; for any person seeking to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, for which the mouth needs to be visible; and for any person with a health condition that keeps them from wearing a face covering. Employees are encouraged and permitted to use their own face coverings, if the face coverings entirely cover the nose and mouth area, fit snugly, and are laundered periodically. Face coverings must be discarded when torn, have holes in them, or are excessively soiled. Please ensure that any wording/pictures/symbols on the face covering themselves adhere to our professionalism regulation.
How can I maintain social distancing in the workplace?
Social distancing is a key to preventing the spread of COVID19. When possible, administrators can stagger shifts to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at once. Employees shall not congregate in common areas such as a workroom or kitchen. In some cases, the administrator may close off a common area to ensure that employees aren’t congregating. Administrators can, where possible, make hallways or walkways one-way to mitigate face-to-face contact. Employees are reminded to stay home if they are sick or show symptoms of COVID-19 according to the CDC. Symptoms include but may not be limited to: Fever or chills Cough Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Fatigue Muscle or body aches Headache New loss of taste or smell Sore throat Congestion or runny nose Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea
What if I must use a common copier, printer, or other equipment or be in a common work area such as a file room?
Your work tasks should be staggered to reduce the potential of close contact at any machines. Commonly used items such as copiers, printers, and door handles should be wiped down with disinfecting wipes at the end of each day and, depending on use in the office, throughout the day. Departments are encouraged to place a large bottle of hand sanitizer in common areas, as well. If employees are in a common area together, they should be using a face covering and maintaining 6 feet of distance from others.
Will face coverings be required of visitors to PWCS buildings?
Yes, all staff, students and visitors to PWCS buildings are required to wear appropriate face coverings under circumstances where social distancing cannot be maintained. 
Will the county provide face coverings for employees?
Employees may use PWCS provided face coverings or use their own. The use of face coverings does not replace the requirement for physical distancing and other prevention measures, such as washing hands and staying home when sick. Employees may request face coverings from their supervisors if unable to provide their own.

Employees in a position identified as high-risk will be provided appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as outlined by CDC and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) standards.
How do I properly wear a face covering?
  • Ensure the cloth face covering fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Cover your nose and mouth;
  • Properly secure to your head with the original ties or loop, where applicable;
  • Meet the guidance outlined by the CDC;
  • Include multiple layers of fabric;
  • Allow for breathing without restriction;
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape;
  • Be clean and in good condition;
  • Remain in place without being held by hands;
  •  Professional, and comply with PWCS and department level dress and appearance policies and must be free from potentially inappropriate, offensive, or political language, images, and graphics.
Will employees be provided face coverings, wipes and hand sanitizer, if they report to work?
Employees may use PWCS provided face coverings or use their own. Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be available in all departments and schools for all employees to use. Hand sanitizer stations will be in public/common areas. Hand sanitizer, disinfectant, gloves, and paper towels will be available in all classrooms.
Where will Plexiglass partitions be installed?
PWCS will be providing Plexiglass partitions for use in public/high traffic areas where employees are in public facing roles.
What is PWCS doing to ensure clean air circulation in PWCS buildings?
PWCS follows CDC and Virginia Health Department guidance to reduce the risk for exposure to coronavirus. Schools are designed to ventilate outdoor air throughout the day to reduce the buildup of pollutants and odors. Maintenance staff conduct routine and preventative maintenance on all mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems – including replacing air filters. Custodians and operating engineers conduct building checks to identify where workers might be at risk while at work (e.g., checking exhaust fans in restrooms for proper operation). PWCS is making sure that HVAC is running before, during, and after school to ensure proper fresh air cycles. We are auditing and evaluating HVAC systems to ensure compliance with fresh air standards. We are evaluating the ability to increase the MERV filter ratings in schools.
What has the Division done to ensure our work environments are properly cleaned and sanitized?
Daytime custodians are focusing on cleaning high touch areas (doorknobs, handles, fixtures, etc.) with a medical grade sanitizing solution with frequent monitoring and cleaning of restrooms throughout the day. Custodians have been trained for enhanced cleaning protocols. Custodians will conduct regular cleaning/disinfecting during and after school. Placing emphasis on “high-touch” areas throughout the school. Utilizing cleaning protocols developed for positive COVID-19 cases. However, all staff are encouraged to clean “high-touch” areas throughout the day. We have also purchased equipment for enhanced cleaning (electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, manual/battery operated pump sprayers, foggers).
What guidance will be provided if a staff member or student brings their own cleaning wipes and would like to clean their desk or workspace?
Schools and departments will provide appropriate cleaning items, including wipes, should an employee or student request to clean their own area. Staff and students are strongly discouraged from bringing their own cleaning supplies from home due to the potential for reactions between the approved Division cleaning products and products purchased outside of the Division.
 

Teacher Education and Licensure

What if an individual cannot complete the new required training related to behavior intervention and support required for an initial teaching license required by the 2020 General Assembly?
An individual seeking initial licensure as a teacher who has not received the instruction described in subsection D of § 23.1-902 shall have until January 1, 2021, to provide documentation of the completion of instruction or training on positive behavior interventions and supports; crisis prevention and de-escalation; the use of physical restraint and seclusion, consistent with regulations of the Board of Education; and appropriate alternative methods to reduce and prevent the need for the use of physical restraint and seclusion. Please note that this extension does not apply to the requirement, effective July 1, 2020, that education preparation programs offered by public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education shall ensure that, as a condition of degree completion, each student enrolled in the education preparation program receives instruction on positive behavior interventions and supports; crisis prevention and de-escalation; the use of physical restraint and seclusion, consistent with regulations of the Board of Education; and appropriate alternative methods to reduce and prevent the need for the use of physical restraint and seclusion.
What is the impact of virtual school reopenings on candidates completing student teaching/internships practicums this summer and fall in educator preparation programs at Virginia colleges and universities or career switcher programs?
The VDOE has communicated with deans and directors of educator preparation programs and directors of career switcher programs to provide flexibility in the modality of the Board of Education student teaching/internship/practicum requirements due to the virtual reopening of schools. Any modification requests for the summer and fall 2020 from deans or directors of educator preparation programs will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. A form has been provided to institutions of higher education and career switcher directors to request modifications.

Benefits and Leave Questions

 

First Quarter Sample Schedules

To help better illustrate what a school day looks like in September, example daily schedules have been developed for elementary, middle, and high school.

Key highlights:

  • Students at all levels will receive live daily teacher instruction in classes Tuesday-Friday, similar to their “normal-year” schedule, with additional teacher office hours on Mondays.
  • Each grade level will have set minimums for live instruction for each class.
  • School day start and end times will be their “normal” bell start and end times, Tuesday – Friday.
  • Mondays will be an all virtual day at all levels, used for a variety of purposes for students and teachers. Monday may be used for teacher-student check-in, mental health and/or counselor meetings, teacher planning and professional development.
  • Monday may also be used for additional cleanings at schools, as a limited number of students may be attending in-person Tuesday-Friday, as identified as requiring in-person services and support in the first quarter.

Sample Schedules:

Elementary School Return to New Learning Sample Daily Virtual Schedule First Quarter

View PDF version of elementary schedule (print only)..

Time Monday Tuesday-Friday 
At-home Distance Learning
9-9:30 a.m.

Virtual day*

Students - recorded/asynchronous learning in Canvas

Teachers - planning, professional development, office hours, individual support, team collaboration

Office hours
9:30-10:15 a.m. Live instruction via Zoom, example: language arts/social studies integrated
10:15-11:20 a.m. Live Zoom small group/differentiated instruction and/or (Canvas) assigned work
11:20-12:05 p.m. Encore (PE, Art, Music, Site Based encore) one per day Live Zoom + (Canvas)
12:05-1:05 p.m. Lunch
1:05-1:50 p.m. Live Zoom instruction, example: math/science integrated
1:50-3:40 p.m. Live Zoom small group/differentiated instruction (including Signet, EL, Special Ed) and/or (Canvas) assigned work

 

*May be used for teacher-student check-in, mental health and/or counselor meetings, other related student services (such as SIGNET or speech), teacher planning and professional development, and additional cleaning of buildings.

  • All students will receive live instruction in core content classes and participate in live and recorded encore daily.
  • Students participating remotely will join via Zoom with schedules set by the school and teacher class schedules.
  • Students will receive live instruction of at least 60 minutes Pre-Kindergarten, 90 minutes Kindergarten – Grade 2, and 120 minutes Grades 3–5, plus additional teacher interactions as needed including Monday virtual-support days.
  • Students in-person needing to join virtual teachers/classes will have access to Zoom facilitated by an in-person teacher.
  • Language arts and math classes (which include integrated social studies and science) will be accompanied by 10-25 minutes of assigned work in Canvas, dependent upon grade level.
Will my elementary student be on the computer for hours with only a lunch break?
No, absolutely not. The sample schedule shows blocks of time indicated for live virtual whole group instruction for language arts/social studies and math/science, for small group instruction, and for Encore class time. The Division understands the developmental needs of our younger learners. So, as indicated in the third bullet at the bottom of the sample daily schedule actual live virtual time offered to students will vary grade level. Additionally, as with in-person instruction our teachers will provide students with brain breaks and movement time during these live virtual sessions. Actual small group time for students will vary by time and day based on student needs.
Is there flexibility for families whose student(s) cannot participate in the all of the live virtual instruction?
Yes, absolutely. The virtual programming includes live virtual opportunities as indicated on the sample daily schedule as well as recorded content on Canvas, our new Learning Management System (LMS). The fall virtual program/schedule is intended to give families flexibility in how and when students receive instruction from the teacher(s). Recorded content aligned to the standards taught in the live virtual instruction will be available on our LMS, Canvas. If a student cannot participate in some of the live virtual instruction, Canvas learning content and assignments can be accessed at any time that is convenient for the family.
Will all grades at the elementary school have the same virtual schedule?
No, all grades at each school will not have the same virtual schedule. Elementary schools will stagger grade level virtual schedules to support families as well as teachers who support students in more than one grade.
Will families have to purchase specialized art supplies, PE equipment, and musical instruments and/or resources for live virtual Encore lessons?
No, if specialized materials and supplies are absolutely required for a lesson, schools will distribute those to families ahead of time. It is important to note that as with all school years, students will need basic school supplies such as pencils, crayons, and paper etc. to support learning at home. If families are in need of support for basic school supplies, they should work with their student’s school.
Will Preschool be offered in the virtual setting?
Yes, if your child is registered for Head Start or one of our preschool programs, we will offer live virtual learning time for our youngest learners. Additionally, we will have opportunities for these students to access recorded learning on Canvas as well. Times will be adjusted to best meet the developmental needs of our three and four year old students.

 

Middle School Return To New Learning Sample Daily Virtual Seven-Period Schedule First Quarter

View PDF version of middle school schedule (print only).

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30-9:20 a.m.

Virtual Day*

Students - recorded/ asynchronous learning in Canvas

Teachers - planning, professional development, office hours, individual support,  team/department collaboration

1 1 1 1
9:35-11:05 a.m. 3 2 3 2
11:10-11:40 a.m. Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
11:45-1:15 p.m. 5 4 5 4
1:30-3 p.m. 7 6 7 6

*May be used for teacher-student check-in, mental health and/or counselor meetings, other related student services, teacher planning and professional development, and additional cleaning of buildings.

Middle School Sample Daily Virtual 6-Period Schedule

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30-10:15 a.m.

Virtual Day*

Students - recorded/ asynchronous learning in Canvas

Teachers - planning, professional development, office hours, individual support, team/department collaboration

1 2 1 2
10:30-12:15 p.m. 3 4 3 4
12:30-1 p.m. Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1:15-3 p.m. 5 6 5 6

 

*May be used for teacher-student check-in, mental health and/or counselor meetings, other related student services, teacher planning and professional development, and additional cleaning of buildings.

  • All students will receive live instruction for approximately 50 percent of each class period plus additional teacher interactions as needed including Monday virtual-support days.
  • Students in-person needing to join virtual teachers/ classes will have access to Zoom facilitated by an in-person teacher.
 

Sample High School Schedule

*Updated August 13: Later Start Time for High Schools

View PDF version of high school schedule (print only).

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30-8:45 a.m.

Virtual Day*

Students - recorded/asynchronous learning in Canvas

Teachers - planning, professional development, office hours, individual support, team/department collaboration

Homeroom/ Advisory/Flex Homeroom/ Advisory/Flex Homeroom/ Advisory/Flex Homeroom/ Advisory/Flex
8:50-10 a.m. Block 1 Block 1
10:10-11:20 a.m. Block 2 Block 3 Block 2 Block 3
11:30-12 p.m. Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
12:10-1:20 p.m. Block 4 Block 5 Block 4 Block 5
1:30-2:40 p.m. Block 6 Block 7 Block 6 Block 7
2:50-3:30 p.m. Virtual office hours Virtual office hours Virtual office hours Virtual office hours

 

*May be used for teacher-student check-in, mental health and/or counselor meetings, other related student services (such as gifted or speech), teacher planning and professional development, and additional cleaning of buildings.

  • All students will receive live instruction daily in their classes, including electives and PE.
  • Grades 9–12 will receive at least 30 minutes per class each day of live virtual instruction with students having live access to the teacher during the entire period.
  • Students in-person needing to join virtual teachers/classes will have access to Zoom facilitated by an in-person teacher. 
Will high school have a later start time due to virtual learning?
The bell schedule for PWCS high schools will be moved by one hour, to start at 8:30 a.m. The new start time will apply to all high school students, those attending in-person, and those virtual. The end time will move back one hour as well, so the total time remains the same. This change will apply in the first quarter, or longer, as long as the majority of students are virtual. If we were to move to the 50 percent model for the second quarter in November, then high school will revert to the 7:30 a.m. start time, and if we were to remain virtual, the later start time could remain in place.

Surveys conducted of PWCS students and parents have shown that a majority prefer mid late-morning to early afternoon to engage with content. There have been a number of studies demonstrating the health and instructional benefits of later start times. The most significant limiting factors in changing the start time is transportation and athletics. As we only have approximately 3.5 percent of total students attending in person the first nine weeks, and per VHSL there are no organized athletic competitions, we have significantly more flexibility than in a typical year. 

PWCS will still continue with the plans to study more in-depth the potential for a more permanent change for the 2021-22 school year or beyond. 
Will the Division provide students with books, materials, and resources needed to support learning in virtual classes?
While many resources will be available online, the Division is actively looking at our different courses at all grade levels and the ways we can distribute needed books and materials to support virtual learning such as printed math manipulatives, art supplies, instruments, etc. to students as appropriate by the course and need(s) of the student(s).