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Prince William Schools Asks Supervisors for $42.5 Million for School Re-openings

| June 17, 2020 | 0 Comments | Education

Photo by Ashleigh Henegar

The Prince William County School Division asked the Board of County Supervisors for $42.5 million to make its schools COVID-19 compliant for reopening in the fall semester.

PWCS School Board Chairman Dr. Babur Lateef and Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts presented the information to the Board of County Supervisors at a joint meeting, Tuesday. 

The Virginia Department of Education [VDOE] requires that Virginia K-12 schools comply with Virginia Schools COVID-19 safety and health requirements based upon CDD guidelines.

VDOE estimates that a typical school district of 3,659 students would incur a cost of $1.7 for the 2020-21 school year. PWCS has more than 92,000 students, and 100 schools and centers, which accounts for the $42.5 million.

“Physical distancing, bus, building capacity requirements, and health considerations of staff and students, will unfortunately make it impossible to have all students and staff in the building at any one time,” the presentation stated. 

According to VDOE, students must sit six feet apart in classes and space out  on bus rides. Schools must be frequently sanitized and schools must provide PPE such as hand sanitizer and masks. Classes of students must not mix in common areas and teachers and staff must receive daily health screenings. 

Schools will need a combination of in-person and virtual instruction and schools and staggered schedules to accommodate small class sizes. Virtual learning will especially be necessary to support those with compromised immune systems or underlining health issues. 

Requirements come at a high cost. The division will need to provide daycare options. It will need to hire more temporary bus drivers, special education teachers, nurses and custodians. Though students may not be in school on a given day, they may still require a school lunch.

Teachers and substitutes will also have to be trained in virtual learning. And the division would have to equip students who do not have reliable internet or computer devices at home, especially special education students.  

Presentation Slide by Prince William County Schools

Walts expects to bring a plan for reopening of schools to the School Board by mid July. 

Slides from the presentation can be found here.

Bristow Beat may update this article. 

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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