COVID-19 (Coronavirus) FAQ Updated 3/25/2020

NOTE: This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and PWCS will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.

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Overall Situation

By order of the Governor of Virginia, all Prince William County Public Schools will remain closed to students through the end of the 2019-20 school year (June 2020), due to the health concerns caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Please note PWCS staff members are working daily to coordinate key information and develop guidance based on new information. Your patience and support are appreciated during this extraordinary time.

Visit the COVID-19 page for the most recent updates.

Key Reminders:

  • Spring Break will still occur as scheduled (April 6-10).
  • Community use of all PWCS facilities indoor and outdoor is canceled until further notice.

What are good sources for official information?

Student and Staff Health

What should families and schools do to reduce risk?

  • County officials have asked we remind all parents and guardians to instruct children to use social/physical distancing and not to gather in groups including playgrounds, playing fields, and playdates. 
  • All PWCS families are encouraged to continue the practice of maintaining healthy behaviors necessary during any cold and flu season. These include but are not limited to:

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

  • Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath — similar to the flu.

What should we do if a student or staff becomes sick?

  • Students, faculty, or staff with Influenza-like Illness (ILI) (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) should stay home and not go into the community except to seek medical care.
  • It is important to note broad-based community communication related to a sick student or staff will only occur in consultation with the local department of health, and that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) privacy laws still apply. 

Are there staff resources for health care?

  • Staff and families who have PWCS insurance coverage through Kaiser Permanente, can call the advice number on your Kaiser Permanente membership card to speak with a licensed care provider or to schedule a telephone or video appointment with your doctor.  If you don’t have your membership card with you, visit the Kaiser Permanente website and click on “24/7 advice.” You can make most video visit appointments online 24/7 from your computer or mobile device. Just choose a time that works best for you and be sure to register at kp.org. You may also call the Kaiser Permanente appointment line to schedule your video visit at 1-800-777-7904 (TTY 711).
  • Staff and families that have PWCS insurance coverage through Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, contact your Primary Care Physician, Anthem Member Services or the 24/7 Nurse Line for treatment advice.  Contact numbers are listed on your Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield ID Card.  You may also utilize the Live Health Online feature of your plan by registering on the  Live Health Online website.

What if an employee is sick and does not have any leave remaining?

  • PWCS sick leave Regulation 542-2 remains in effect and provides guidance on employee sick leave.  Employees who are not covered by the employer-sponsored Short-Term and Long-Term Disability plans, that have exhausted all compensable leave and continue to have an illness or injury as certified by a physician, may be granted an extended medical leave of absence. The request shall be sent to the Director of Benefits and Retirement Services for approval. The extension will be without pay in accordance with the provisions in Regulation 544-1, “Leave Without Pay,” or the employee may pursue disability retirement.

Are there any additional mental health resources for PWCS staff? 

  • All PWCS employees and their family members have free confidential support through our Employee Assistance Program, ComPsych.  They offer a resource platform that can help keep you informed about the coronavirus, as well as offer guidance on how to remain healthy and deal with the emotional impacts of the outbreak.  You can call 844-880-6915 to speak with someone about your concerns or go to the ComPsych website

 

Information for Staff from Human Resources

As global and local concern about the current COVID-19 outbreak grows, we are experiencing disruptions to our school and work environments. We are providing this communication along with “Human Resources Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)” to share resources that are available, provide additional information, and answer questions during these challenging times.

As you are aware, we have closed access to our buildings and offices because of the critical need for social distancing. However, the Offices of Human Resources, Benefits, Financial Services, and Payroll are virtually staffed to address the most essential employee concerns regarding your pay and benefits and other employment-related topics during regular working hours. In addition, the “Live Chat” feature on the main Department of Human Resources (DHR) webpage is online during the same hours. We will respond as soon as we can and appreciate your patience.

Below is information relative to our School Division closure to provide you with the supports you may need during this time of changing work requirements and uncertainty.

  1. All full and part-time employees (on contracts or position assignments) will continue to be paid through the end of the school year.
  2. All active substitutes and temporary employees hired on or before February 13, 2020, will receive paid leave during the closure. In order to be considered active, a substitute or a temporary employee had to have worked (intermittently or continuously) between February 13, 2020, and March 13, 2020. Pay will be based on the employee’s average semi-monthly earnings over the past six months. Those with less than six months employment will be paid based on their average semi-monthly earnings over the period they have been employed with PWCS. This special pay arrangement will be effective beginning April 15, 2020, and will end with the June 30, 2020 pay date.
  3. All employees who are not on approved leave should be checking their PWCS email daily. Email may be accessed remotely here.
  4. No PWCS employee should physically report to their worksite until further notice (with the exception of designated staff to support critical functions who should report as directed). However, employees should remain available during their normal working hours to report physically to work when needed at the direction of their supervisor. Appropriate measures will be taken in conformance with recommendations from the CDC.
  5. Employees whose jobs permit them to work virtually are expected to do so at the direction of their supervisors.
  6. All staff were granted administrative leave March 16 – 22, 2020 (no other leave was assessed for this time period). Effective March 23, 2020, and moving forward until further notice, regular leave policies and procedures should be followed for employees who are unable or unavailable to report to work, either physically or virtually, subject to the new Family First Coronavirus Response Act. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for additional guidance.
  7. April 6-10, 2020, is Spring Break for less than 250-day employees. April 9-10, 2020, is Spring Break for all other employees. Employees are not expected to work during their respective Spring Breaks. Please reference the employee calendar for scheduled workdays (PDF).
  8. PWCS Help Desk is staffed virtually. Central Office employees can obtain remote assistance by emailing techsupport@pwcs.edu or pwcshelpdesk@pwcs.edu. School employees should contact their TSPEC directly by email or email pwcshelpdesk@pwcs.edu.
  9. The Department of Human Resources (DHR) Staff Email Directory can be accessed online. Please review the directory and email your questions or concerns to the appropriate staff member.
  10. For assistance with payroll-related questions, please email PWCSPayrollOffice@pwcs.edu. For specific Kronos-related questions, please email KRONOS@pwcs.edu.
  11. Classified employees need to obtain advanced written approval from their supervisor prior to working hours beyond their normal workday. Please see the FAQs for additional guidance.
  12. Information about your benefitsis available online. Employees covered by PWCS health insurance plans can access virtual health care by visiting their respective insurance provider’s website. Please see the FAQs for additional information on this benefit.

During any time of crisis, contact with others is one of the basic ways that people deal with anxiety, sadness, loneliness, depression, panic, and other powerful and potentially difficult emotions. Social isolation may be good news in terms of containing the virus, but bad news in terms of easing our anxiety. Please know that our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), ComPsych Guidance Resources, provides counseling and other services to help you. Please see the list of FAQs for additional information on this benefit.

We know it’s an uncertain time and everyone is navigating many unknowns. PWCS remains committed to our students and staff in prioritizing their health and the health of the communities we serve. Thank you for your continued commitment and service to our World-Class School Division.

Please see the FAQ for more information.

Facility Cleaning

How are schools and buses cleaned?

  • The Prince William County Public Schools Cleaning Standards is based on custodial staffing publications of the APPA Institute (Association of Higher Education Facility Officers). Current disinfectant detergents utilized in PWCS are effective against Coronavirus. Daily cleaning within a school includes all bathrooms including fixtures, cafeterias and tables, drinking fountains, common areas, and classrooms. Should an outbreak occur, additional deep-cleaning of a school may be required.
  • Bus drivers have been provided the disinfectant for use and have been asked to use it frequently between routes.

Student and Staff Travel

What is the status of official student or staff trips planned for outside the U.S.?

  • Out of an abundance of caution, all school-sponsored or official business trips for students or staff planned outside the United States are suspended as of March 2, 2020, until further notice. As the situation is fluid, it will continue to be assessed and this temporary suspension may be adjusted. Students or staff who have plans with independent travel providers, that are not directly school sponsored, should check with those providers for any changes to plans.
  • At this time, The Division is not pursuing participation in exchange programs to send students abroad or bring international students to our Division for the remainder of this school year or next year.  Per Prince William County School policy and regulation, students pursuing enrollment in a Prince William County school on a J-1 or F-1 visa must be enrolled prior to the start of the school year and only after completing a screening process through an approved Foreign Exchange agency or through the Department of Homeland Security.  Students presenting themselves for enrollment with any other type of visa will be registered in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the PWCS Global Welcome Centers. 

What is the status of any official student or staff trips planned within the U.S.?

  • As of March 13, 2020, all field trips and out-of-state trips are cancelled until further notice.

What if staff or students have traveled to countries with widespread sustained (Ongoing) transmission? 

 

Instruction

By order of the Governor of Virginia, all Prince William County Public Schools will remain closed to students through the end of the 2019-20 school year (June 2020), due to the health concerns caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The state will waive the days missed and will not require the days missed be made up.

Guidance is expected to come from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) later this week regarding graduation requirements, credits, and the impact of this decision on learning, including special education. The state is in the process of waiving Standards of Learning (SOL) this year. Once the waiver is received, we will provide an update. PWCS is also waiting on further guidance on other standard assessments and school accreditation.

PWCS will review this guidance, as well as information from the federal Department of Education, to determine the impact to PWCS and necessary changes. PWCS will share additional information on these topics, and other questions in the coming days, as soon as possible.

We know students, staff, and parents will have many questions and we thank you for your patience as we adjust to these changes as rapidly as possible.

Talking with Students

How should we communicate with students during this time?

  • It is important that adults provide reassurance to students during this period of uncertainty. Generally, younger children need more reassurance and want to be told that they are safe. Older children are more ready for information and may ask questions. Like adults, children handle information differently: some children need more information to deal with issues, while others worry more if they have a lot of information. Adjust the information you share to your child’s personality and needs, using words they understand.
  • Lesson plans and resources are being provided to schools via school counselors.
  • Additional resources that may be helpful are available on Arlington County Health Department How to Talk to Children about Health News, and BrainPOP! Video about the Coronavirus

Emotional Support for Students

If any student is in need of emotional support during this stressful time, he/she can email studentsupportservices@pwcs.edu to receive virtual support. Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) will have counselors and other school-based mental health staff respond to any student who needs assistance. PWCS cares deeply about our students’ emotional well-being during their time away from school and we want you to know that we are only an email away. As a reminder, this email will not be checked 24 hours a day but it will be checked often during daytime hours each day. If you ever have an emergency situation, please reach out to a trusted family member who may be able to render immediate help.

Contact Us

Student Registration

Kindergarten Registration

Online registration is now available to enroll children in kindergarten. Children who will be five years old on or before September 30, 2020, are eligible to enroll in kindergarten in Prince William County Public Schools for the 2020-21 school year. Parents may use the Find Your School site to locate the school their child will attend.

Please note: parents whose students are currently enrolled in any PWCS preschool program (preschool or special education) do not need to complete the online kindergarten registration process. Instead, once schools re-open, they should contact the registrar for the school where their student will attend for kindergarten for the 2020-21 school year.

Find information and instructions on kindergarten enrollment and online registration here.

How are students from outside the U.S. registered with PWCS?

  • The Division continues to follow the process as outlined in Regulation 711-1, Student Registration Requirements and Procedures to include the completing of the Home Language Survey (HLS) for all students being registered.  
  • The HLS shall be completed prior to beginning the registration process. Students whose primary language is not English should complete the registration, assessment, and orientation processes through one of our Global Welcome Centers. The following are the process steps involving the HLS.
  • School staff review the answers on the HLS and complete the Base School Verification Form, if applicable. 
  • If it is determined that the student needs to register through a Global Welcome Center, school personnel may assist the family in making an appointment. The base school will send the HLS and the Base School Verification form to the appropriate Global Welcome Center site prior to the student’s registration appointment. All registration paperwork will then be completed through the Global Welcome Center. 
  • If a parent/guardian contacts the Global Welcome Center prior to contacting the student’s base school and it is determined that a student is eligible for Global Welcome Center services, all registration paperwork will be completed through the Global Welcome Center and forwarded to the student’s base school.
  • At this time, The Division is not pursuing participation in exchange programs to send students abroad or bring international students to our Division for the remainder of this school year or next year.  Per Prince William County School policy and regulation, students pursuing enrollment in a Prince William County school on a J-1 or F-1 visa must be enrolled prior to the start of the school year and only after completing a screening process through an approved Foreign Exchange agency or through the Department of Homeland Security.  Students presenting themselves for enrollment with any other type of visa will be registered in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the PWCS Global Welcome Centers. 

Meal Service

PWCS has been approved by VDOE to serve meals to parents/guardians 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.

  • Service times: Monday- Friday* 9-11 a.m.
  • Service Style: To-go Meals served at the front door of each location
  • Meal Types: Packaged breakfast and lunch will be served at the same time

*Range of dates may change based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Virginia Department of Health guidance

Service Sites

Elementary School Sites     Middle School Sites   High School Sites
Dale City
Fitzgerald
John D. Jenkins
Mullen
Tyler
Coles
Yorkshire
 Beville
Graham Park
Hampton
Fred Lynn
Lake Ridge
Marsteller
Parkside
Potomac
Rippon
Stonewall
Woodbridge
 

Forest Park