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FAQ for Return to In-Person Learning -50/50 Hybrid Model

50 percent model - Updated 5/3/21

  1. How is the 50 percent model being implemented?

    In the 50 percent model students who opt for in-person learning  attend school two-days a week in-person either Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday. Those opting to be virtual attend completely remotely. Those students currently attending in-person four days a week in the first quarter will continue to do so. PWCS is using a phased-in return to buildings to allow for better implementation of safety and health mitigation strategies while factoring in the large size of our Division, available technology assets, and the complexity of student schedules and student transportation.

  2. Do public and private schools fall under gathering limit in Governor Northam's Executive Orders?

    A “gathering” includes, but is not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, whether they occur indoors or outdoors. The presence of more than 100 individuals indoors, or 250 individuals outdoors, performing functions of their employment or assembled in an educational setting is not a “gathering.”

    On April 21, 2021 Governor Northam issued the fifth-amended Executive Order 72 (PDF) with an update for school-based fine arts performances.

    Then, on April 22, 2021 Governor Northam issued the sixth-amended Executive Order 72 (PDF).with an effective date of midnight on May 15, 2021. The document includes more sweeping changes and further loosens restrictions and capacity limits in a variety of settings, including recreational sports, graduations, fine arts performances and other gatherings.

  3. Will students have the same daily time schedules under the 50 percent model?

    No. All students attending in-person or virtual will have different times for classes in the hybrid model. The sequence of classes may stay the same, but the times will be adjusted to match the necessity of in-person learning (such as lunch schedules and bus times).

  4. Will high school start times change under the 50 percent model?

    Yes, all high schools now have an approximate 7:30 a.m. start for all students (as opposed to some classes starting as late as 10 a.m. in virtual-only model) now that in-person learning has resumed for grades 9 through 12. Bus routing requirements necessitate the earlier start.

  5. What will a week look like for 50 percent model?

    In School

    Monday – Virtual day, asynchronous at-home learning for students using Canvas. Teacher planning/professional development, office hours, additional individual/small group learning support, and counseling support available and/or provided as appropriate.
    Tuesday - House* A attends school in-person, identified vulnerable students attend school in-person.
    Wednesday - House B attends school in-person, identified vulnerable students attend school in-person. 
    Thursday - House A attends school in-person, identified vulnerable students attend school in-person.
    Friday - House B attends school in-person, identified vulnerable students attend school in-person.

    *Students are assigned to a  “House" that determines the days they will attend in-person/virtually. House A attends in person T/Th. House B attends in person W/F.  VO is the designation for Virtual Only students.

    At Home

    Monday –  Virtual day, asynchronous at-home learning for students using Canvas. Teacher planning/professional development, office hours, additional individual/small group learning support, and counseling support available and/or provided as appropriate.
    Tuesday – House B learns synchronously with in-person students via live streaming of instruction, All virtual students learn synchronously with and/or without in-person students as appropriate to the teacher/class assignment.
    Wednesday - House A learns synchronously with in-person students via live streaming of instruction, All virtual students learn synchronously with and/or without in-person students as appropriate to the teacher/class assignment.  
    Thursday - House B learns synchronously with in-person students via live streaming of instruction, All virtual students learn synchronously with and/or without in-person students as appropriate to the teacher/class assignment. 
    Friday -  House A learns synchronously with in-person students via live streaming of instruction, All virtual students learn synchronously with and/or without in-person students as appropriate to the teacher/class assignment. 

  6. How do parents go about choosing hybrid or all-virtual option for their students?

    Parents were provided an opportunity to review preferences in ParentVUE and updated their selection of virtual or in-person for their student, or students.  If a parent/guardian did not complete the form, the student was defaulted to attending in-person for planning purposes.

  7. Will high school athletics still take place this school year? Will students who select 100 percent virtual be able to participate in athletics and/or clubs and activities?

    PWCS is participating in high school sports season as permitted by the Virginia High School League.

    We recognize the importance of extracurricular activities not only to physical health, but to social, mental, and emotional well-being as well.  PWCS will continue to closely monitor the local health data and may postpone or suspend all or some activities during periods of substantial COVID-19 transmission in the community or schools.

    All sports will have a condensed season. Students are still eligible for sports or after-school clubs and activities if participating virtually. Transportation to the school for athletics or activities will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian and/or the student. Students should check their school websites for tryout information, including health and safety requirements necessary for participation.

    Season Schedule

    • Winter Sports - December 7  start for basketball and cheer -December 14 start for gymnastics, indoor track, swim/dive, wrestling;(First Contest Date-December 28)
    • Fall Sports - February 15- May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1) Cheer, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, volleyball
    • Spring Sports- April 12 - June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26) Baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field
  8. When will middle school athletics resume?

    Planning is currently underway for middle school athletics to resume for the 2021-22 school year.

  9. Will spectators be allowed at high school sporting events?

    Updated Guidance on Spectators at PWCS Events:

    As a result of Governor Northam’s announcement regarding the fourth update to Executive Order 72 which will go into effect on April 1, 2021, we have updated the RTA guidance for spectators.  Additionally, we have adapted some mitigation guidance for cheerleading, cross country track, and golf.

    On April 1, spectator limits increased indoors from 25 to 100 and outdoors from 250 to 500. The Governor then revised Executive Order Seventy-Two to allow up to 1,000 spectators for outdoor recreational sports, effective immediately. This change advances by two weeks a change that was scheduled to go into effect on May 15 and will allow additional spectators to participate in final games of the current high school sports season and the summer sports season.

    The following are important reminders:

    • Spectators will include both home team and visiting team spectators
    • All mitigation required for spectators (spacing, face coverings) will remain in effect.
    • All mitigation required for students as noted in the updated Return to Athletics will remain in effect. 

    We will be offering on-demand live streaming of games via a contracted service for a small fee.  Read more about on-demand viewing.

  10. If I chose for my student to be virtual only, can I opt for in-person at any time?

    Parents or guardians of students currently attending as “virtual-only” students, who wish to have to their student(s) attend in-person for the fourth quarter, that begins April 6, may do so by contacting their student(s) school through Friday, March 12. Please note that due to required health mitigations, transportation, and other logistical considerations, your student’s schedule and teacher assignments could change to accommodate the in-person attendance. Additionally, depending upon available classroom space, some students may be less than six feet apart with additional health mitigations, as approved by the Virginia Department of Health.

    Students may choose to switch to “virtual-only” at any time by notifying your school. However, after March 12, any student changing from “in-person” to “virtual-only,” will not be able to change back to in-person (with limited exception for a required learning need), due to the challenges of scheduling, health mitigation space requirements, and other considerations.

  11. 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.

  12. Will my students have the same teachers as when we were virtual only?

    It is possible that a student may be assigned different teacher(s) depending on the choice of in-person or virtual and staffing needs at the school (see answer above).

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

    Lessons may be recorded and uploaded to canvas. It will vary. The combined in-person/distance learning model includes recorded content from Canvas. The virtual-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.

  14. 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.

  15. Does live “streaming” for virtual students (in-person not in school and all virtual) in the 50 percent model mean that students will be asked to passively watch videos of teacher(s) instructing in-person students?

    No, our use of the term live “streaming” is only to indicate that the Division will be able to have concurrent instruction with virtual and in-person students by utilizing the recently funded increase in bandwidth to transmit video and audio from every classroom for virtual students at home as appropriate. Our instructional model looks to maintain the use of Zoom for virtual students at home and the ability for students to receive live virtual instruction and have live interaction daily with their teacher(s), to be able to ask questions, and have dialogue about their learning in real time during each class.

  16. Is there a name for the instructional model involving both virtual and in-person students learning simultaneously?

    Yes, this model is called concurrent learning/teaching.

  17. Are there other school divisions successfully implementing concurrent learning/teaching?

    Yes, other school divisions in Virginia, in other states, as well as schools in other countries are currently implementing a model of concurrent learning/teaching. In fact, we have sent several school and Division leaders to see this model in action in two other school divisions in Virginia.

  18. Have teachers received professional development to support the successful implementation of this model?

    Yes, PWCS is providing all teachers and school administrators training regarding the management and implementation of this model including concurrent teaching. Additionally, teachers will be offered ongoing professional learning opportunities as well as onsite support.

  19. Have all teachers been provided the equipment to implement this model?

    Yes, see Technology section in FAQ.

  20. Will teachers and students have to stop using the technology they have been while all virtual?

    No, teachers and students will continue to use Canvas and Zoom as a part of the concurrent learning/teaching model. Maintaining these central elements will enable PWCS to quickly change models should the pandemic health conditions change.

  21. Will in-person students work on computers all day with little to no direct instruction from the teacher(s)?

    No, while in-person students will utilize technology and Canvas during the school day, our teachers will provide direct whole group, small group, and individual instruction as appropriate to the learning needs of the students and the curriculum content.

  22. Will virtual students be asked to be on Zoom for 6.5 hours every day in the 50 percent model?

    No, while virtual students will utilize Zoom to receive daily live virtual instruction and interaction with their teacher(s). They will continue to utilize Canvas asynchronously to access other recorded content and complete assignments.

  23. Will virtual students continue to get learning breaks during the day?

    Yes, virtual students will continue to get learning breaks each day.

Transportation Services-Updated 2/25/21

  1. 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.

  2. 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 with their children at home each morning as directed by the School Division.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 to start the second quarter under the 50 percent model. Our goal will be to assess routes frequently and modify bus stop times to make efficiency improvements.

  10. 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 each phase of return to in-person learning. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

School Facilities - Updated 2/19/21

  1. What about the use of water fountains in our schools?

    PWCS is suspending the use of water fountains in its buildings. However, bottle water filling stations will remain in use. Personal water bottles and/or disposable cups should be utilized for the bottle filling stations. Schools will provide water upon request.

  2. 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.
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. How will classrooms be cleaned between classes?

    Staff will clean, as frequently as possible, “high touch” areas and desk/tabletops utilizing approved disinfectant products.

  5. Does our schools 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.

    In accordance with CDC guidelines, Facilities Services is closely following the ASHRAE guidance for building operations during COVID-19 (ASHRAE Reopening Schools and Universities C19 Guidance (magnetmail.net), which provides detailed recommendations for system evaluation and steps for ensuring optimum operation. 

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

    • Ventilation: Site evaluations were conducted on current equipment to ensure systems are bringing in the significant amount of outside air already required by Code. Facilities Services continues to monitor systems closely to ensure proper operation and optimal ventilation. 

    • PWCS increases the amount of outside air into buildings prior to occupancy, and post occupancy, to flush our facilities.
    • PWCS increases 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.
    • The CDC recommends bringing in fresh outside air, which coupled with exhaust systems, results in air exchanges inside the building. Our amount of air exchanges per hour may vary from six to 12 (including outside air) based on several factors, including the design of the system, the building code requirements in place at the time of design, air tightness of the building, equipment efficiency, occupancy, and size of room. The majority of PWCS classrooms have an air exchange rate of 8-10 times per hour and fresh air change rates are two to three times per hour.

    • Filtration: PWCS has been conducting assessments with engineers to determine the feasibility of higher filter performance. PWCS typically utilizes air filters that range from MERV 8 to 12 and where possible, is upgrading to a higher filter performance as determined allowable by engineers and staff. Airflow is drastically affected by filter selection and proper airflow must be maintained to achieve proper comfort levels, ensure appropriate outside air introduction into the building, and to prevent mechanical failure with units designed for a specific airflow/MERV filter rating. There are many technical factors that must be considered in order to determine the maximum filtration allowable, while maintaining proper function of the system. Facilities Services is committed to increasing filtration to the greatest extent possible based on system design. Facilities Services also changes filters on a regular schedule based on manufacturer specifications to ensure optimal filter performance. 

    • PWCS is exploring the use and feasibility of installing contained UV-C lighting systems, that have been evaluated by a certified agency, on the coils of mechanical systems. Consultation with a mechanical engineer is necessary to determine the level of 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.

  6. Will teachers be able to open up windows (and doors) to improve air circulation?

    Yes, where operable windows exist.

    Please be aware:

    • 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 contrary 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. At the same time, introducing extreme cold air prevents our systems from being able to provide adequate heat within our buildings. 

  7. 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.

  8. 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. 

  9. 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.


    Middle School Classroom examples with 3 feet minimum distancing.



    High School Classroom example with 3 feet minimum distancing.


  10. Will restrooms have appropriate physical distancing in between sinks and stalls?

    Yes, some sinks and stalls will be closed to ensure six-feet distancing.

  11. 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.

  12. How will soft surfaces, such as bean bags, small sofas, and/or throw rugs be cleaned? Should these items be removed from instructional spaces?

    Soft surfaces will be disinfected each evening using the PWCS approved disinfectant. It is not required that these items be removed from spaces, but it is recommended to reduce the number of objects in a room, where possible, for the benefit of social distancing and ease of cleaning/disinfection.

  13. Is it safe for students to sit on rugs/carpets/floors, etc.?

    Per CDC guidelines, it is recommended that students wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer after instruction that involves students sitting on the floor. Custodial staff will clean floors each evening per proper protocols for the specific surface type.

Health - Updated 4/28/21

Health Protocols 2020-21

COVID-19 Dashboard

  1. *Are face coverings required? 

    Face coverings are required for all staff and students the majority of the school day to include: in hallways between classes, common areas, school grounds, classrooms, and on school buses.

    Please read Regulation 275-2 - Emergency Face Coverings.

    Although the CDC has updated guidance regarding face coverings, PWCS must continue to adhere to mandates from the Governor. Under the Governor’s Amended Order Number 63, effective November 16, 2020, all persons age five and older are required to wear face coverings in certain indoor spaces, including public school buildings and buses. Visitors to school grounds, including stadiums and sports fields, are required to wear face coverings.


    • PWCS student athletes participating in spring sports will no longer be required to wear face coverings while playing; they will be required to wear them while on the sideline. Spectators must also continue to wear face coverings. 
    • Governor Ralph Northam amended Executive Order Seventy-Two to adopt new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on face covering use in outdoor settings.  Mask use is still required indoors and outdoors at large crowded events like concerts, sporting events, and graduation ceremonies.
    • The Governor’s Executive order did not make changes to face covering protocols for students and staff during recess or outdoor activities on school grounds, and PWCS guidelines remain consistent with today’s executive order:   Masks Required – Outdoors: All individuals in the Commonwealth aged five and older must cover their mouth and nose with a mask, as described and recommended by the CDC, when outdoors and unable to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from other individuals who are not Family members as defined in section I, subsection D, paragraph 2.
    Schools are encouraged to aim for six feet of physical distance to the greatest extent possible. However, if six feet of distance is not feasible (inclusive of buildings and school buses), schools must implement a combination of face coverings and a minimum of three feet distance between everyone present.

    Exceptions are made for students with medical conditions or disabilities, for whom wearing a mask would pose a threat to their health or safety. Exceptions are also made for those communicating with the hearing impaired. Additionally, students may remove masks when eating, drinking or exercising. 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.


  2. 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.  Review health protocols.

  3. Will there be a clear and thorough notification system for those exposed to anyone who tests positive for the virus (contact tracing)?

    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.

  4. Will students or staff who exhibit symptoms be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to return to school or work?

    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.

  5. What should schools do if an individual is experiencing flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms?

    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.

  6. Will PWCS provide face coverings to any staff or student who may be unable to furnish their own?


  7. Were schools be provided supplemental funding for personal protective equipment (PPE)?


  8. How much supplemental funding will be provided?

    A total of $2.5 million was allocated for this purpose.

  9. 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)?


  10. 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.

  11. Will the schools be providing medical-grade PPE for all staff members and students along with guidelines on how to use it?

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. Using the DOLI standards as established, PWCS has ordered PPE and will distribute as needed to match the requirements.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 -Updated 3/1/21

  1. How will school lunch be distributed?

    Per CDC guidelines, all components of the meal will be served to students; there will be no buffet self-service or food sharing. There are a variety of distribution options available to schools, including service to classrooms or the traditional pick-up through the lunch line with proper social distancing. PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services has worked with building administration to ensure lunch plans are tailored for their unique school circumstances and needs.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 at no cost for the remainder of the school year, 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.

  5. 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 and to date have safely served over 4 million meals during the pandemic. 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.

  6. 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. A la carte items will not be provided. PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services will work with building administration to ensure lunch plans are tailored for their unique school layouts and situations. .

  7. 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?

    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.

  8. 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. Since the USDA program is providing free meals to students through the remainder of the school year, there is also no need for exchange of money.

  9. 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.

  10. Will students be three feet apart when eating lunch?

    Multiple methods for lunch may be utilized at a school. This may include eating outdoors (weather permitting), use of the cafeteria, hallways or other large spaces. If these spaces are not available students may use their classroom and will be asked to separate to furthest extent possible. Due to social distance requirements, lunch may not resemble the traditional “social time” for students. Parents that have concerns may opt for their child to be virtual.

Technology-Updated 3/1/21

  1. Does PWCS have the bandwidth and technology necessary for live streaming from classrooms?

    PWCS has upgraded the Division-wide network to 100G. This bandwidth is sufficient for all students and teachers to be live streaming and using cloud-based applications simultaneously. All classrooms have wireless N access points, and wireless 6 access point are also in place at some high schools, and additional wireless 6 access points will continue to be added throughout the upcoming school year. PWCS is providing centrally a pan/tilt camera and wireless headset for every teacher. All classrooms including trailers have access to an interactive white board or large screen high resolution monitor/television. Any student without access to a device at home will be provided a device. All schools will have a laptop for every student in PWCS by January. Students needing help to get internet at home may receive support through Comcast Cares, mobile hotspot, or WiFi parking lot, contact your student’s school if you need additional information.

  2. Will students need a device at school for in-person learning days?

    Students may be asked by their school to bring their PWCS issued device when in-person. PWCS has a device for every student. Learning in-person will use various methods, if a student does not have access to technology in a classroom, accommodations will be made.

  3. What if my students need to print from their PWCS issued devices?

    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.

  4. What are the guidelines for cleaning your laptop, iPad or other device?  

    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.
  5. 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 7th Generation
    • iPad Air 3rd Generation
    • iPad Pro 4th Generation

    Camera access – Built-in or attached

  6. 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 7th Generation
    iPad Air 3rd Generation
    iPad Pro 4th Generation

    Camera access – Built-in or attached

  7. Can my student use a Chromebook for PWCS virtual learning?

    PWCS recommends using a PWCS student issued device, all schools have devices available for students. If choosing not to use the PWCS device, 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.

  8. Does PWCS have any discounts for families to use to purchase technology?

    Every PWCS is provided a free student device for learning, check with your school for details. PWCS does not have any specific discount programs; many retailers have student and teacher discounts.

  9. Is PWCS providing any Wifi internet access for students?

    PWCS is supporting students whose families lack internet access at home. Please contact your school for details if your student needs help with internet access. This support is available through free take home WiFi hotspots or PWCS supported Comcast Essentials.

  10. 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. 
  11. 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"
  12. 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. 
  13. 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). 

  14. 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

  15. How do I get a computer for my child?

    If your child was not yet issued a device, please contact the school directly with your request.

  16. What kind of camera and headset will be provided to teachers to help teaching in hybrid classroom?

    Teachers will be provided a Logitech wireless single-ear headset that delivers enterprise-quality audio and has a 328 foot range with a 10 hour run time. Teachers will also be provided a Logitech 180 pan/ 55 tilt/zoom camera with a remote control capable of 1080p 30fps video with Carl Zeiss optics and onboard technology that helps ensure quick Plug-and-Play functionality on both PCs and Macs - no software to install. The camera will function off a wired USB connection to be placed where needed.


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