Public/Family FAQs

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Are Code Red days going away?
No. PWCS will continue to have Code Red days this school year and beyond when conditions warrant their use in severe weather emergencies that may impact access to remote work or learning, such as potential power outages. Students will not be assigned required work on Code Red days, and teachers will take the missed time into consideration of deadlines or test scheduling. Students may take advantage of a Code Red day to optionally catch-up on or for voluntary work on assignments already assigned. All full-time employees are paid for Code Red days but are not required to work, except for inclement weather personnel.
What are the changes to the Inclement Weather policy for PWCS?
There is now a Code Orange in addition to Code Red, Code Green, delays, closings, and early releases.
What is a Code Orange?
School and office buildings are closed. Students are expected to learn asynchronously (asynchronous learning allows for independent learning or within a certain timeframe). Staff are expected to work remotely.
Why was Code Orange created?
It is abundantly clear the pandemic has impacted student learning significantly, and we must maximize the time available to provide instruction for our students, along with providing the critical services our students receive at school. As such, we want to minimize any closures due to weather and their impact on teaching and learning. We have also made significant investments in technology support for our students, teachers, and staff. These investments have provided the means to deliver instruction and work remotely, even when buildings may not be available for in-person learning.  

Additionally, this year, we are introducing a “Code Orange.” This code will be used when weather conditions are marginal and impacting road or sidewalk safety conditions, but are not so severe as to cause substantial impacts. On such days, buildings will not open. However, employees will work remotely, students will work asynchronously (not live), and teachers will provide posted office hours for students to check-in as needed. This will enable teachers to grade assignments, employees to attend remote professional development, and business operations to continue.

Code Orange may also be used in lieu of days that in previous years were delayed openings. Due to the ongoing national shortage of bus drivers, PWCS continues to have a number of double and triple bus runs. These runs make it logistically impracticable to have delayed openings.
Why isn’t live instruction being used this year?
It is the goal of the Division to move to full synchronous (live instruction) in the 2022-23 school year on days when buildings may close. This year will enable employees and students to adapt to working remotely in order to determine any further improvements or needs for next school year.    
When will the new Code Orange be implemented?
Code Orange will be implemented this school year.
What happens when Code Orange is called?
  • Asynchronous Learning Day for students and remote work for non-essential employees.
  • School buildings and office buildings are closed.
  • Buses will not operate.
  • In-person and live virtual classes will not occur. Students enrolled in Virtual Virginia should follow their schedule.  
  • Students should use the day to work asynchronously on assignments related to curriculum previously taught.
  • Teachers will hold live office hours via Zoom. Please refer to your school for the schedule.      
  • The School Age Child Care (SACC) program will not open.
  • All in-person school activities (day and evening) are canceled including field trips, team practices, club meetings, interscholastic contests, and athletic contests.
  • Remote (virtual) activities may occur.
  • All non-school activities (day and evening) are canceled including Adult Education, night school classes, community use including recreational programs scheduled in school buildings.
My student is all virtual this year? What does a Code Orange mean for them?
Live virtual classes will not occur. Students enrolled in Virtual Virginia should follow their schedule.  
Will my student have access to their teacher?
Yes, all instructional staff will be available remotely per their posted office hours, each school/teacher will provide the specific times.
Now that we have a Code Orange, can we end the school day/school year earlier or start later?
PWCS does not build “snow days” into the calendar. Per Virginia Code the annual PWCS school calendar is 180 days. Under Virginia Code 22.1-98, “when severe weather conditions or other emergency situations have resulted in the closing of any school in a school division and such school has been unable to meet the 180 teaching day requirement, the school division may make up the missed teaching days by providing its students with instructional hours equivalent to such missed teaching days to meet the minimum 990 teaching hour requirement.” PWCS surpasses this minimum instructional time requirement allowing for limited days to be missed without adding time or days to the school calendar.  
At the high school and middle school level, what schedule will be followed on the first day back in school after a Code Red or Code Orange call?
The day following a Code Red or Code Orange will be the day missed. For example, if today is a Code Red or Code Orange and it is an “even day,” and we return to school tomorrow, students will attend “even day” classes.
What if my student left their laptop at school?
If a student requires access to digital resources to work asynchronously and forgot their school issued device, they may use another device or phone to access most applications online including Canvas and Office.com 
What if my family doesn’t have access to internet at home?
Any family needing assistance with home internet may contact their school to receive a school-issued take home “hotspot.”

For more on codes and operations during inclement weather, refer to Reg. 404.04-1.


Staff FAQs

Which employees have to report to buildings/sites on a Code Orange day?
Inclement weather employees are expected to report. These are staff members designated as critical or essential to the operation of the Division and whose presence at work may be required regardless of the existence of an emergency condition or Division closing. These inclement weather employees shall report at times specified to perform essential duties as dictated by the event.

Employees whose jobs cannot be done remotely (e.g., Food and Nutrition, Transportation, and Facilities) will receive specific instructions from their supervisor.

Refer to Reg. 404.04-1 for more on inclement weather employees.
Can I take liberal leave on a Code Orange day?
Employees may request approval to take liberal leave in the event of extreme weather or a similar emergency, which prevents them from safely reporting to work (in-person or virtually) or remaining at work for their scheduled time during a Code Orange or Code Green, delayed opening, or early release. Teachers should inform students when not available for office hours.
Is telework expected for non-exempt employees?
Yes. Supervisors will provide information to non-exempt employees.
Will nonexempt employees that are working virtually need to clock in and out?
No. Non-Exempt employees working virtually will not need to clock in and out. Each employee will be credited with the hours they normally work. However, those non-exempt employees required to report onsite to work (primarily inclement weather employees) should clock in and out.
Will teachers receive additional pay for working on Code Orange Days or having fewer Code Red Days?
Teachers are compensated for a 195-day work year and are compensated for both Code Orange and Code Red days; additional workdays are not added for weather closings.
Will professional development still happen on Code Orange days?
Professional development activities may occur remotely. The department or school sponsoring the activity shall provide information regarding professional development requirements to their respective staff members.
Do I need to take student attendance?
Attendance does not need to be taken.
Do all instructional staff need to provide office hours to support students?
Yes, all teachers, including Special Education and ESOL , should host office hours per the schedule determined by the school.
Will bus drivers and food service employees receive pay for Code Orange Days or Code Red Days?
All full-time bus drivers and food service employees receive their base pay for Code Orange and Code Red days.

For more about employee reporting and work expectations during inclement weather, refer to Reg. 404.04-1.


The Superintendent reserves the right to make exceptions to Regulation 404.04-1 and operations as deemed appropriate.