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PWCS Announces Virtual ‘Return to Learning’ Student Schedules

| July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments | Education

Prince William County Schools shared more information on what the virtual school day will look like for students this year, beginning in September with the first marking period.

Although the majority of students will be receiving online instruction from home, the school day will progress according to a regular bell schedule. Each grade level has been assigned a minimum number of minutes that students must receive live instruction. For older students, this has been broken down by class periods.

Students will have virtual classes Tuesdays through Fridays. Mondays will be used for teacher-student check ins, mental health, or counselor meetings, and teacher planning or professional development. The school buildings will also be cleaned on Mondays as some students are attending in-school classes. 

PWCS says there will be some flexibility for students to complete online assignments outside of class times so that parents can assist better them or to meet scheduling needs.

Students who will be in school for special instruction will also be able to virtually attend other classes.

Elementary school will begin at 9 a.m. with “office hours,” or 9:30 a.m. for everyone. At minimum, PreK students will receive 60 minutes of live instruction, K-2 will receive 90 minutes of live instruction and grades 3-5 will receivef 120 minutes of live instruction.

Live Zoom classes are scheduled every 45 minutes. While the teacher is not instructing, students may be doing at-home assignments. Math and science will be scheduled together and language arts and social studies will be scheduled together. Teachers may integrate instruction. Students will also take encore classes, a different one each day. There is later period for special education needs or independent canvass work. Elementary students have an hour for lunch/break/recess.

Middle school students will have even and odd days. Students with seven periods will have four 30-minute periods each day plus a 30-minute lunch period. Students with six periods will have 45 minute classes. Fifty-percent of each class period will be for teacher instruction and the rest of the time, students can work on their assignments. 

High School begins at 7:30 a.m. with a 15 minute homeroom twice a week. Students will take three to four 70-minute class periods a day, have a 30-minute lunch, and have access to 40 minutes of teacher “office hours,” at the end of the day. They will rotate between even and odd days. Teacher must present 30-minutes of live instruction per class. The rest of the time students may be working from home with access to their teachers during their class periods. 

Information is available here via PWCS, and parents/students can also download example schedules. 

Frequently Asked Questions, courtesy of Prince William County Schools: 

How much distance learning will occur “live” with teachers?

Based on developmental stages/needs the exact amount of live virtual time will vary from elementary school (ES), to middle school (MS), to high school (HS). However, schools across each level (ES, MS, HS) will offer students consistent amounts of live virtual time per day/week with some students receiving additional time individually or in small groups based on need.

“Our goal is to provide all students with as much live teacher interaction as is possible. Recorded content/lessons will also be made available for families unable to accommodate the live time frames.”

Will virtual learning have any scheduled activities/ be completed on a certain schedule?

Yes. Assignments are given due dates in the system and logged on the student’s calendar.

Will they have set times they are required to meet with teachers, watch videos, turn in assignments, etc.?

Yes. We will provide a daily and weekly schedule to provide some structure for students and family to use, with the understanding that there should be flexibility that distance learning provides.

Can parents who work complete distance learning tasks/ classes with their students on weekends and evenings?

Similar to other virtual programs, the lesson activities will consist of mostly recorded/uploaded (asynchronous) material to provide as much flexibility as possible. Distance learning by its very nature is intended to be flexible to meet the unique scheduling needs of each learner.

How will elective/specialty/ hands-on classes be taught? (PE, band, music, art, sign language, foreign language, welding, cosmetology, etc.)

We will be adapting the in-person experience to distance/virtual experiences with a combination of: live (synchronous) experiences consisting of demonstrations, discussions, presentations, etc.; recorded (asynchronous) presentations, instructional videos, demonstrations; and various assigned readings, tasks, assignments, papers, etc. For example, a PE teacher may demonstrate a fitness exercise (live or in a recorded video), followed by students replicating the activity, logging their activity, and perhaps reading about the muscles used and the aerobic impact of those exercises. Similar approach would be used in the other content areas.

Will the Division provide students with books, materials, and resources needed to support learning in virtual classes?

While many resources will be available online, the Division is actively looking at our different courses at all grade levels and the ways we can distribute needed books and materials to support virtual learning such as printed math manipulatives, art supplies, instruments, etc. to students as appropriate by the course and need(s) of the student(s).

Will high school sports take place this school year? – added 7/27

The VHSL Executive Committee voted to approve Model 3 in the re-opening of high school sports and activities. This model delays sports and activities until December 14 and keeps all sports in the seasons where they are currently aligned.

Model 3 adopts the Condensed Interscholastic Plan: (shown below)

  • Season 1 (Winter) December 14 – February 20 (First Contest Date – December 28)
    • Basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim/dive, wrestling
  • Season 2 (Fall) February 15- May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1)
    • Cheer, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, volleyball
  • Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26)
    • Baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field


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