Health mitigation guidance from Dr. LaTanya D. McDade
Posted on 01/21/2022
Dr. LaTanya D. McDade

Dear PWCS Families, Staff, and Community,

It is our collective goal to return to a sense of normalcy for our students as soon as possible. We recognize that the duration of quarantine is exhausting for students, families, and staff across the Division. However, as COVID-19 continues to have high community transmission, we also must continue to take steps to ensure the safety and health of our students and staff, while ensuring our schools stay open for in-person instruction.

The CDC recently updated COVID-19 mitigation guidance regarding the length of isolation and quarantine. Effective Monday, January 24, PWCS will reduce quarantine requirements for K-12 students and staff. This change does not apply to students in pre-K. Isolation (students who are sick with COVID-19) for students continues to be 10 days, as the shorter duration requirement for physical distancing upon return to school when not wearing a mask is not logistically possible during lunch at school. This updated guidance will be implemented with new cases of student quarantine beginning on Monday and beyond.

The following chart provides a summary of the revised requirements. Additional information is available on the PWCS website:

COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines

  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
Student icon Isolation
Students
(Illness or Positive Test Result)
Yes, for those who:
  1. Are ill and have received a positive test result; or
  2. Are ill and have received a physicianʼs diagnosis; or
  3. Are being treated as a positive case due to illness and/or exposure; or
  4. Are not ill but have received a positive test result.
10
Days

Return to school on day 11
Staff icon Isolation
Staff members
(Illness or Positive Test Result)
Yes, for those who:
  1. Are ill and have received a positive test result; or
  2. Are ill and have received a physicianʼs diagnosis; or
  3. Are being treated as a positive case due to illness and/or exposure; or
  4. Are not ill but have received a positive test result.
At least
5
Days

Return to school on day 6

*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.

Current Virginia law compels school divisions to offer in-person instruction and reduce COVID-19 transmission by following guidance provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the maximum extent practicable. Federal law also requires continued masking on school buses and Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) regulations require masking for employees. These laws conflict with the Governor’s recent Executive Order regarding masking in public schools. Accordingly, PWCS will continue to implement a multi-layered COVID-19 mitigation strategy following current CDC guidance that includes the use of universal masking, quarantine, and isolation.

In compliance with the current law, the PWCS masking requirements (Regulation 275-2) in place since the first day of school remain in effect until such time as PWCS receives clarification on the conflict between the Governor’s recent Executive Order and existing state and federal law.

We appreciate your continued cooperation by having your student wear a mask, as they have done very well all year. We also thank you for your support and respect for our school administrators and staff, who are obligated to enforce these legal requirements. It is our goal to minimize instructional disruption for all children and allow our staff to focus on teaching and learning. All schools will continue to provide masks to students and staff as needed.

I appreciate your support and patience as we work together to provide quality education in an environment that is safe for both students and staff.

Sincerely,
Dr. McDade Signature
LaTanya D. McDade, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Prince William County Public Schools