2020-21 School Year Information and FAQ (updated frequently)
Posted on 11/12/2020
Preparing for a Positively PWCS School Year

PWCS is implementing a phased-in approach for students to return to the buildings for learning under a 50 percent hybrid model. Decisions are guided by health metrics and local, state, and national health experts. The health metrics in Prince William County indicate an ongoing moderate-high risk for the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in schools. As such, PWCS is reopening at the maximum recommended capacity for in-person learning based on phase guidance for Virginia schools.

In development of the phased-in approach, in addition to the health metrics, PWCS is considering the complexity of student transportation and student schedules, school building capacities, availability of staffing, need for additional professional development, and technology assets and limitations.  

PWCS COVID-19 Dashboard
Do you want to learn more? The FAQ page is updated frequently.


Update - October 22, 2020

timeline of return to building dates

Read Dr. Walts’ talking points from the October 21 School Board Meeting

Pre-Kindergarten Through Third-Grade Students

Students in pre-K through third grade who indicated an in-person preference (or did not select a preference) will be phased in under the 50/50 model as follows.

  • Students in pre-K and kindergarten return beginning Tuesday, November 10
  • Students in first grade return beginning Tuesday, December 1
  • Students in second and third grades return beginning Tuesday, January 12

Students will attend two alternating days per week based on their assigned house (T/Th or W/F). Mondays will remain virtual days, with asynchronous at-home learning for students using Canvas.

Students who are attending in-person four days a week in the first quarter will continue to do so.

NoteStudents in some high school career and technical education (CTE) classes will return to in-person learning on Mondays beginning November 16. Students in the Juvenile Detention Center will resume in-person learning beginning November 10. Program details will be communicated by the school/program.

Fourth- Through 12th-Grade Students

Students in grades fourth through 12th will remain virtual during the second quarter.

As health metrics and staffing warrant, students who indicated an in-person preference (or did not select a preference) will be phased in to return to the school building starting in the third quarter as follows.

  • Students in grades fourth and fifth return beginning Tuesday, January 26
  • Students in grades sixth and ninth return beginning Tuesday, January 26
  • Students in grades seventh, eighth, 10th, 11th, and 12th return beginning Tuesday, February 2
  • High School start time will revert to 7:30 a.m. beginning Tuesday, January 26
  • With the initial phasing in of sixth-and ninth-grade students, instruction and transportation would need to evaluate and determine if a one-run bus schedule can continue or if a two-run bus schedule would need to be implemented on January 26th.

Students will attend two alternating days per week based on their assigned house (T/Th or W/F). Mondays will remain virtual days, with asynchronous at-home learning for students using Canvas.

Students who are already attending in-person four days a week will continue to do so.

 

50/50 Hybrid Schedule for 2020-21 School Year

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Virtual Day - asynchronous at-home learning for students using Canvas

Planning and PD for Teachers - Teachers office hours, additional individual/small group learning support, and counseling support available and/or provided as appropriate

Identified vulnerable attend school in-person Identified vulnerable attend school in-person Identified vulnerable attend school in-person Identified vulnerable attend school in-person
House A attends school in-person House B attends school in-person House A attends school in-person House B attends school in-person
House B learns synchronously with in-person student via-live streaming of instruction House A learns synchronously with in-person student via-live streaming of instruction House B learns synchronously with in-person student via-live streaming of instruction House A learns synchronously with in-person student via-live streaming of instruction
House C (all virtual) learns synchronously with and/or without in-person students as appropriate to the teacher/class assignment House C (all virtual) learns synchronously with and/or without in-person students as appropriate to the teacher/class assignment House C (all virtual) learns synchronously with and/or without in-person students as appropriate to the teacher/class assignment House C (all virtual) learns synchronously with and/or without in-person students as appropriate to the teacher/class assignment

 

News Archive

October 7, 2020 Update

October 7, 2020

Guidance released from the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Education recommends schools in the moderate risk category provide in-person instruction to willing students with disabilities, English learners, and pre-kindergarten through third grade students.

PWCS pre-kindergarten through third-grade students return in a phased approach in the second quarter.

Pre-K through third-grade students who indicated an in-person preference (or did not select a preference) will be phased in under the 50/50 model as follows.

  • Pre-K and kindergarten students return beginning November 10
  • First-grade students return beginning December 1
  • Second- and third-grade students return beginning January 12

Students will attend two alternating days per week based on their assigned house (T/Th or W/F). Mondays will remain virtual days for all students.

Students who are attending in-person four days a week in the first quarter will continue to do so in the second quarter.

This phased-in approach for our youngest learners, including those starting school for the first time, allows time to adjust to new routines and learn safety protocols. The phased-in approach also provides additional time for planning, training, and technology for a more robust and successful return to in-person learning, including hybrid classroom instruction.

 

Fourth- through 12th-Grade Students

Students in grades four through 12 will remain virtual while the county remains at moderate risk. View current status on COVID-19 dashboard.

Note: The phase-in plan allows the return of students in some career and technical education (CTE) classes on Mondays beginning November 16. Program details will be communicated by the school/program.

July 15, 2020 Update

July 15, 2020

School Board Adopts Return to Learn Plan for 2020-21 School Year

The Prince William County School Board unanimously (8-0) adopted a Return to Learning Plan that will have the first quarter of the school year as all virtual learning for most students. The first quarter will start for students on September 8, 2020, ending October 30, 2020. The goal will be to transition to a 50% capacity model in the second quarter, with the option for students to remain virtual.

Under the plan, Prince William County Schools (PWCS) will consider offering in-person services to special education students as determined appropriate by their IEP teams, and to the most vulnerable English Language Learners and students with interrupted learning, as determined to be instructionally appropriate and feasible.

Official Resolution:

That, in order to reopen schools this fall, while protecting the health, safety, and well-being of students and staff, the Prince William County School Board

  1. reopen schools for the 2020-2021 school year on September 8, 2020, with a 100 percent distance learning model for the first quarter. The Division will consider offering in-person services to special education students as determined appropriate by their IEP teams, and to the most vulnerable English Language Learners and students with interrupted learning, as determined to be instructionally appropriate and feasible. It is the goal of the Division to transition to a 50 percent Capacity In-Person and Distance Learning Model for the second quarter, with the option for students to remain virtual, while maintaining flexibility throughout to adapt to public health guidelines as needed, and
  2. to adopt the proposed Return to Work and Health Plans, modified as needed to adapt to the Return to Learning Plan and public health guidelines, and
  3. to authorize the Superintendent to implement any additional mitigation measures as appropriate to accommodate these models.

July 8, 2020 Update

July 8, 2020

The Prince William County School Board met in a work session on July 8 to consider multiple reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year. The options were developed by task forces comprised of hundreds of school-based and central office employees, and after receiving direct input from nearly 23,000 parents and 6,000 teachers via surveys. The options developed consider social distancing and capacity requirements of the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Education.

After several hours of discussion, the Board reached consensus in directing School Division staff to move forward with “Plan 3.”  A final vote is scheduled for July 15.

In Plan 3, or the 50 percent model, most students will attend school in-person two days per week. Specific subgroups would attend four days. In this plan, students will do at-home work three days per week. The fifth day would be used as a virtual workday, allowing for additional cleaning and virtual office hours for staff members to provide support to students. PWCS would provide an all-virtual option for students whose parents or guardians choose to opt-out of in-person learning.

The School Division also recommended moving the first day of school for students to September 8. Teachers would report as planned in order to provide additional planning and training time. Due to flexibilities offered by the State in scheduling, the end of the school year would likely remain unchanged. The School Board will vote on July 15 to officially amend the 2020-21 calendar.

Other key points from the Division’s health plan proposal include:

Face coverings will be required for all staff and students aged 10 or older when six feet of social distancing is not possible to include:

  • In hallways between classes;
  • In common areas;
  • In classrooms when an activity requires students to be situated closer than six feet; and
  • On school buses.

Parents/students will be asked to complete a daily health questionnaire and a temperature check prior to reporting to school. Staff will also be asked to complete a daily health questionnaire and a temperature check prior to reporting to work.

School Transportation will be placing students in every other seat to maintain as much distance as possible during transportation to and from school.

The exact details of the plans are subject to change as they are further refined and finalized.

More information on the July 15 meeting, including ways patrons may address the School Board on the reopening plans.

We know that none of the plans perfectly meet the needs of all staff, students and their families; however, the Board and staff have done their best to balance critical health and learning needs as safely as possible. Frequently asked questions and answers will be posted soon.

Options Considered

The School Division considered multiple options for a return to new learning this fall. 


 

Plan 1 is an all-virtual model with live and recorded lessons.

Plan 2, or the 25 percent model, provides instruction for students in-person, at-school, one day per week. This plan fully aligns with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). In this plan, off-line or on-line learning will take place four days per week. Specific subgroups, such as special education students, would attend four days. The fifth day would be used as a virtual workday, allowing for additional cleaning and virtual office hours for staff members. PWCS would still provide an all-virtual option for students who choose.

In Plan 3, or the 50 percent model, most students will attend school in-person two days per week. Specific subgroups would attend four days. In this plan, off-line or on-line learning will take place three days per week. The fifth day would be used as a virtual workday, allowing for additional cleaning and virtual office hours for staff members. PWCS would still provide an all-virtual option for students who choose.

Plan 4 would be a return to school as normal. However, due to all of the capacity and social distancing requirements of the VDOE and VDH this is not possible at this time.

Our planning is based, first and foremost, with student and staff health as a top priority, and a focus on equitable learning for every child. We also recognize that children are best served in-person and that many of our families rely on the School Division for key services including meals and child care. In developing our plans, we also must follow the legal and health guidance and requirements outlined in the following:

  1. Centers for Disease Control  
  2. The Governor of Virginia
  3. Virginia Department of Health
  4. Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Recover, Redesign, Restart, 2020
  5. Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  6. Virginia High School League

The physical distancing, bus, and building capacity requirements, and health considerations of staff and students, will unfortunately make it impossible to have all students and staff in buildings at any one time. Therefore, we will have to implement some variation of distance learning, alternating schedules, and telework for some employees in specific categories.

The links below provide more specific information into the plans that were considered.