Employee Information

Return to Work FAQ

The Department of Human Resources has developed the below FAQs to assist employees in the reopening of the division and our “Return to Learning/Work” plan. In addition to these FAQs, please also refer to those PWCS policies and regulations governing employee compensation, leave, benefits, and other conditions of employment. To the extent that those 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.

 

UPDATED: 3/25/21

FFCRA Legislation

What is the duration of the FFCRA legislation?

The Families First Corona Virus Relief Act (FFCRA) took effect on April 1, 2020 and expired on December 31, 2020. The FFCRA mandates were not extended by Congress with the signing of the COVID Relief Bill on December 27, 2020. However, Prince William County Public Schools will voluntarily continue to offer sick leave benefits similar to the previous FFCRA mandated Employee Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) benefits through March 31, 2021 (PWCS-EPSL).

Benefits provided through the FFCRA Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) will not be continued and ended on December 31, 2020.

How does the additional PWCS-EPSL benefit impact existing PWCS leave policies?
PWCS will offer PWCS-EPSL benefits before applying other PWCS Leave Regulations as they apply to an employee absence resulting from the need to quarantine or isolate as ordered by the government or advised by a healthcare practitioner; or for employees experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis through March 31, 2021.

Effective January 1 2021 PWCS will not be providing benefits for expanded job protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover eligible employees who are unable to work or telework so that they may care for children if schools are closed or their caregivers are unavailable because of a public health emergency.

All other PWCS Leave Regulations continue to apply when applicable.
What information may be collected from an employee to substantiate the employee's request for PWCS-EPSL?

An employee must provide the following information prior to taking PWCS-EPSL:

  • Employee's name.
  • Date(s) for which leave is requested.
  • Qualifying reason for the leave.
  • Oral or written statement that the employee is unable to work because of the qualified reason for leave.
  • The name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order.
  • The name of the health care provider who advised the employee to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

Employees will be required to complete applicable PWCS-EPSL forms to initiate a request for benefits under the PWCS-EPSL. Forms may be obtained from the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services. The Office of Benefits and Retirement Services may be contacted by emailing benefits@pwcs.edu.

If I exhaust my PWCS-EPSL and still need time away from work for a COVID-related reason, will I be able to use my accrued leave to cover my absence?

A number of factors affect your ability to use leave outside of the provisions of the PWCS-EPSL. If you have exhausted your benefits under PWCS-EPSL and have a subsequent need for leave due to additional COVID- 19 events, employees will need to use their accrued leave. Employees approved by their supervisor to telework, will not need to use accrued leave. However, if an employee becomes ill and is unable to work either at a PWCS building or virtually at home, they will be required to use accrued leave. Additional questions may be answered by contacting the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu
If I exhaust my EPSL under FFCRA and/or PWCS-EPSL and have no additional accrued leave available, how will my leave be handled?

Should you exhaust your EPSL and have additional COVID- 19 exposure, please contact the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services for further guidance regarding PWCS Administrative COVID Leave (PACL). The Office of Benefits and Retirement Services may be contacted by emailing benefits@pwcs.edu
If I have exhausted the 10 days of leave provided through the EPSL under FFCRA prior to December 31, 2020, does PWCS-EPSL provide additional leave benefits?

No, the PWCS-EPSL is a voluntary employer continuation of benefits similar to those previously mandated under FFCRA. The PWCS EPSL does not provide an additional 10 days of leave to those who have already used the mandated EPSL benefits under FFCRA prior to December 31, 2020. Employees who may have a subsequent need for leave due to additional COVID- 19 event(s) may elect to use their accrued leave. Employees approved by their supervisor to telework, will not need to use accrued leave. However, if an employee becomes ill and is unable to work either at a PWCS building or virtually at home, they may elect to use accrued leave.
Additional questions may be answered by contacting the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu
If I do not use EPSL by March 31, 2021, do the hours carry over into standard FMLA and sick leave benefits?

No, these benefits are not “transferable” for use under other PWCS leave regulations and there are no rollover provisions for these leave benefits under FFCRA or PWCS Leave Regulations.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)

Changes in the PWCS-EPSL Leave

 

PWCS voluntarily extended a portion of the federally mandated Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) through March 31, 2021 when it expired on December 31, 2020. This PWCS-EPSL leave benefit provides up to 10 days of sick leave that can be used for certain COVID-19 related reasons. Rather than allow the leave benefit to expire, we will continue the benefit with some important changes. These changes are in accordance with the updated CDC guidance for COVID-19 quarantine (fully vaccinated personnel no longer have to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19) and also recognize that all PWCS employees have been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated. These changes will take effect on April 1, 2021 and this leave benefit will continue until the pandemic ends.

PWCS-EPSL provides paid sick leave when an employee is unable to work for a qualifying reason related to COVID-19. Paid leave under PWCS-EPSL is for a maximum of two weeks (10 days) and the payment amount is based on the employee’s scheduled work hours and reason for utilizing the leave. Qualification for EPSL is divided into two categories:
  1. Employees who are vaccinated who are required to isolate due to a personal diagnosis of COVID-19 - In the unlikely event that a vaccinated employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 and is required to isolate (as documented by a medical provider), the employee may receive up to two weeks (10 working days) of pay (up to a maximum of $511 per day) when the employee is unable to work.
  2. Employees who are unable to be vaccinated due to a medically documented reason, or because of a sincerely held religious belief who become ill or are required to quarantine due to COVID-19- Such employee may receive up to two weeks (10 working days) of pay (up to a maximum of $511 per day) when the employee is unable to work for one of the following reasons.
    • Employee is subject to quarantine or isolation* due to an order by a federal, state or local entity;
    • Employee is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine;
    • Employee is experiencing symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis;
    • Employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

*Per the Virginia Department of Health and the Prince William County Health Department, quarantine applies to a well-person who has been exposed to someone who is sick with COVID and whose movement is restricted. Isolation applies to a person who is isolating at home due to a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19.

In order to request benefits under PWCS-EPSL, a completed Request for PWCS- EPSL Leave form will need to be submitted to the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services along with the associated documentation to be considered for payment for the leave no later than 15 days after the commencement of the leave.

Who is eligible for paid sick leave benefits under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)??

All employees of PWCS, regardless of how long they have been employed, are eligible for PWCS-EPSL, as outlined above.

Under the PWCS-EPSL, how much paid leave will PWCS provide?

Full-time employees are entitled to two weeks (10 working days) of paid leave (subject to daily maximums). Part-time employees are entitled to a number of hours equal to the number of hours that the employee normally works over a two-week (10 working day) period.
If an employee’s need for PWCS-EPSL is less than the two-week (10 working day) maximum duration, PWCS-EPSL shall cease beginning with the employee's next scheduled work shift immediately following the termination of the need for leave due to applicable COVID-19 reasons.
What amount of pay can I expect to receive under PWCS-EPSL for my own quarantine, isolation or COVID-19 related illness?

PWCS-EPSL will provide up to a maximum of two weeks (10 working days) of 100 percent of the regular rate of pay (based on the employee’s scheduled hours) up to a maximum of $511 per day, when EPSL is taken due to an employee’s own COVID-19 related illness or quarantine. Employees using EPSL for their own quarantine, isolation, or COVID-19 related illness, may supplement EPSL benefits with accrued sick leave, annual leave, personal leave, and/or unpaid vacation days up to, but not exceeding, 100 percent of the employee's normal base pay.
What amount of pay can I expect to receive under PWCS-EPSL to care for another individual who is under quarantine, isolation order or ill due to COVID-19?

There is no benefit under PWCS-EPSL to care for an individual who is quarantined, isolated or ill due to COVID-19. However, you may use accrued annual leave, personal leave, unpaid vacation days, and sick leave for this purpose.
If PWCS-EPSL benefits provide less than my full rate of pay, am I able to supplement my pay with my own leave?

You may supplement PWCS-EPSL benefits with your accrued annual leave, personal leave, sick leave, and/or unpaid vacation days if you would receive less than your full regular pay under PWCS- EPSL.
When will PWCS-EPSL benefits begin?

PWCS-EPSL will begin the day after the qualifying event. PWCS-EPSL benefits may be retroactive. Employees must provide documentation to support the use of EPSL as soon as possible, but no later than 15 calendar days after the date they initially requested leave. Required documentation may include a copy of federal, state or local quarantine or isolation or related to COVID-19 or written documentation by a health care provider advising employee to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 along with other documentation for the specific situation (medical documentation to support decision not to be vaccinated). This documentation must be submitted to the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu.
How much notice do employees have to give before taking PWCS-EPSL and how do employees apply for this leave?

Employees are expected to notify their supervisor as soon as possible, or at least by the first workday missed due a COVID related absence. Employees must contact benefits to formalize the request to use PWCS-EPSL. A completed PWCS- EPSL Leave form must be submitted to the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services along with the associated documentation to be considered for payment for the leave no later than 15 days after the commencement of the leave.
Can leave benefits be used intermittently under the PWCS Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)?

No, PWCS-EPSL may not be taken on an intermittent basis.

Other Benefits-Related Questions

What is the current status of COVID-19 in Virginia?

This situation is rapidly evolving. For the most up-to-date information, check the Virginia Department of Healthwebsite, which is updated daily.
What if I get sick with COVID-19? What health guidance should I follow?

Employees should work directly with their health care provider on any issue concerning their health including COVID-19.  If you have general questions concerning COVID-19, you can visit the Virginia Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention (CDC).
Will staff who exhibit symptoms be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to return to school or work?
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)
 
I believe that I have contracted coronavirus through contact while performing my work duties. Will this be covered under workers’ compensation?

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation law provides benefits when an employee suffers an accidental injury, and in some cases, when they contract an occupational disease caused by their employment. While workers’ compensation law provides compensation for “occupational diseases” that arise out of and in the course of employment, Virginia excludes “ordinary diseases of life” (e.g., the common cold or flu). To be covered under workers’ compensation, the employee must prove to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission that the illness arose out of the employment as defined by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Code.
Do our benefit plans include telemedicine or a way to see medical professionals remotely?

Yes. Each of our providers, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente, offer these services. You will need your insurance card, pharmacy information, and a debit or credit card to access these virtual services. If you have difficulty, please contact Lisa Figueroa at figuerlm@pwcs.edu or 703-791-8022, or Elisa Pickette at pickete@pwcs.edu
  • Kaiser Permanente, can call the advice number on the 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. Choose a time that works best for you and 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 who have PWCS insurance coverage through Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, should 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.
Are employees eligible for Short Term Disability benefits if placed under quarantine? (VRS - Hybrid employees)

There are a wide variety of scenarios under which an individual may be quarantined, ranging from a voluntary self-quarantine without a COVID-19 diagnosis to a mandated quarantine with a diagnosis.

If an individual is quarantined as directed by a licensed health care professional or government agency, the Standard will assess a claim for benefits as follows:
  • If the individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is unable to work from home, they will remain insured and eligible under the group STD policy.
  • If the individual has not been diagnosed and is unable to work from home, they will retain coverage and eligibility under the STD policy should they eventually become disabled.
  • It is important to remember that under most STD policies a covered individual must be unable to work, either at their place of employment or from home, and must experience a loss of income to be eligible for STD benefits in all cases.

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

What if I have a safety concern at work?
If an employee see’s something of concern when returning to their building, they are encouraged to speak with your administrator. If you are uncomfortable speaking with your administrator, you can email healthandsafety@pwcs.edu or call the anonymous tip line at any time at 703-791-2821. All concerns are taken seriously and will be followed-up to ensure the safety of all.
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.

 

Notification Requirements

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 703-791-8050) and seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider.