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Updated: February 25, 2022

Are masks required at PWCS schools, offices, or school buses?

As of February 25, 2022, masks are optional across all PWCS schools and offices for employees, students, and visitors, with the exception of Head Start Pre-K classrooms. Masks continue to be required by federal rules for adults and students in Head Start Pre-K classrooms.

Employees and students can continue to wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk.

The CDC no longer requires wearing masks on buses operated by public school systems.

What are the current isolation and quarantine guidelines?

COVID-19 Isolation Guidelines

  Required? Length*
Student icon Isolation
Students
Yes, for those who:
  1. Have received a positive test result; or
  2. Have received a physician’s diagnosis.
10
Days

Return to school on day 11
Staff icon Isolation
Staff members
Yes, for those who:
  1. Have received a positive test result; or
  2. Have received a physician’s diagnosis.
At least
5
Days

Return to work on day 6 – with mask required day 6-10

*No student or employee should return to school or work until symptoms have significantly improved to include being fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.

COVID-19 Quarantine Guidelines

Quarantine – will only apply if more than 10% school population is COVID-19 positive and recommended by local health officials.

  Required? Length
Staff & Student icon Quarantine
Staff and students
(No illness but identified as a Close Contact)
Yes, for those close contacts who are not fully vaccinated per CDC definition. 5
Days

Return to school or work on day 6
No, for those who are fully vaccinated and not ill or who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 90 days. 0
Days
What is a COVID-19 variant?

Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants persist. Numerous variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are being tracked in the United States and globally during this pandemic. For more visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Visit the CDC website for complete list of symptoms.

Why are students sharing seats on school buses?

As 97% of the Division's 90,000 students have returned in-person to our buildings, PWCS buses are running at full capacity with 2-3 students per seat. PWCS is operating within the CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidance for health protocols.

How does PWCS work with the Prince William Health District to support COVID-19 contact tracing?

PWCS collaborates with the Prince William Health District (PWHD) to monitor student and staff positive cases. Contact tracing will only occur in those limited situations wherein 10% or more of the school population is positive for COVID-19 and a recommendation is made from the PWHD to initiate contact tracing during the period of high case numbers in one location.

How will students receive instruction when quarantined?
  • In those unique situations when a student is required to quarantine, the student and parent will be notified that all assignments and lesson materials can be accessed through Canvas asynchronously. A designated staff member will be responsible for coordinating the communication of how the student should access their instructional materials and assignments during their quarantine. Details on quarantine process and contact tracing are provided above.
  • Currently, teachers receive an alert or notification via The Hub that they have a student who is quarantined.  This notification serves as a reminder for teachers to ensure that the Canvas page has remained updated and instructional information is clearly labeled for students to access. Students in quarantine accessing learning are marked present.
  • All teachers will be required to post their availability on Canvas to help students with instruction. Teachers will respond daily to emails from quarantined students.
  • In cases where the entire class/section is quarantined, the teacher will instruct that class/section virtually.  The teacher will report in-person to instruct the class virtually (unless quarantined). The student will access any other classes/sections using Canvas.
Will PWCS be providing hand sanitizer for classrooms?
  • Hand washing is encouraged and is the preferred method of hand hygiene. When hand washing opportunities are not available hand sanitizer can be used.
  • Hand washing soap and hand sanitizer will be provided by the school.
Can students bring their own hand sanitizer?

Yes, students will be allowed to bring their own hand sanitizer for personal use.

What are the required cleaning protocols?

PWCS will continue current protocols of frequent cleaning of “high-touch” surfaces and daily cleaning of classrooms. Custodial staff has been trained on this expectation.

What are the expectations/requirements for physical distancing in classrooms, cafeteria, locker rooms, etc.?
  • Schools will work to provide opportunities to maintain distance when possible. The goal is to achieve 3-6 feet of distance.
  • Schools may utilize directional markers and distance reminders to promote distancing; however, with 97% of our students in buildings, distancing will not be achievable at all times.
  • Locker rooms may be utilized.
  • Schools will follow the following cafeteria guidance:
    • The goal is to minimize time students are less than 3 feet apart.
    • Podding students and assigning seats in the cafeteria will be implemented.
    • Visitors are not allowed in cafeterias in order to maximize space and limit potential contacts.
    • Utilize physical distancing (at least 3 feet) while in line.
    • Schools may consider additional solutions when possible, such as:
      • Providing additional lunch spaces to maximize distancing (such as libraries, hallways, multipurpose rooms, etc.); 
      • Staggering lunch shifts/periods to reduce the number of students.
If my child starts in-person can they change to virtual?

Students who have not chosen the virtual option will not be permitted to change to virtual. Those with documented health conditions can apply for homebound services.

What are the considerations for mitigation strategies for students on a field trip?

Teachers and administrators will know the COVID-19 protocols for the location for the field trip and will share this information with parents.

Can students and/or staff members use water fountains?
  • Water fountains will not be used at this time.
  • Students should bring a water bottle to school.
  • Schools may provide bottled water to students when filling stations are not available to staff and students.
Can students use lockers?

Yes; however, students' time at lockers will be minimized, and students will be encouraged to avoid congregating at lockers in hallways.

Are there any special considerations for locker rooms?
  • Normal use of locker rooms will be in place.
  • Students will be allowed to dress for physical education classes.
Will students use hands-on manipulatives?

Students may use equipment and manipulatives. Students will be encouraged to wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently.

Where can I find answers to questions specific to PWCS employees?

Please visit the Employee COVID-19 FAQ webpage.