PWCS to Propose Tentative Return-to-School Dates for All Students

| October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments | Education

Photo by Ashleigh Henegar

The Prince William County School Board will hear the Superintendent’s extended plan for return to in-person learning at its Wednesday evening meeting.

The proposed dates have been published on the school board agenda for Oct. 21 (and Bristow Beat lists them below.)

The return is dependent upon Prince William County meeting heath metrics regarding the rates of new COVID-19 cases in the county. Currently, Prince William County is considered “Moderate-High Risk.”

At the request of the board, Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts will present a tentative extended return to in-person learning plan for all PWCS students. Previously, the superintendent only released the goal dates for Pre-K through 5th grade via a slow phased-in approach.

According to the new plan, the goal is to have all students listed as hybrid learners return to school by the first week of February.

According to the school board agenda, the proposed return-to-school dates are as follows:

November 10, 13: Pre-K, kindergarten

December 1, 2: 1st grade

January 12, 13: 2nd and 3rd grades

January 26, 27: 4th, 5th grades, 6th, 9th grades, and CTE Phase-in

February 2,3: 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade return to school

December 1, 2: 1st grade

January 12, 13: 2nd and 3rd grades

January 26, 27: 4th, 5th grades, 6th, 9th grades, and CTE Phase-in

February 2,3: 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade return to school

The students will only return to in-person learning only two days per week. The first date signifies House A’s return to school. The second date, House B. House C students will remain all virtual.

Dates Subject to Health Metrics 

Prince William County currently falls within the “Moderately-High,” category. At these COVID-19 health metrics, local and state agents advise against having children above the third grade return to school in-person.

The Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Education released specific guidance for schools on returning to in-person learning.

“In schools with moderate or higher risk of transmission, specific learners should be prioritized for limited in-person instruction, including willing students with disabilities, English learners, and prekindergarten through third-grade students. All other students should be served remotely. A fully remote option should be available to all.”

The previously released phased-in approach adheres to that guidance, but the new one does not. Health conditions would need to improve.

“Currently Prince William County has the highest numbers of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in the past 14 days, compared to the City of Manassas, or the counties of Fairfax, Stafford, or Fauquier,” pwcs.edu reports.

PWCS notes on its website that return to school plans are guided by health metrics set by local, state and national health experts. PWCS even has a convenient dashboard where people can keep track of the current health metrics in the county.

Chairman Babur Lateef directed Walts to create a best-case scenario schedule should the county find itself in the “green,” or low risk category. Potomac board member Justin Wilk also requested such a plan to serve as a road map.

If the county remains at its “Moderate-High Risk” status, it is unlikely the school division would be able to adhere to the proposed plan.

The school board will discuss tonight at 6 p.m. via a hybrid school board meeting from the Kelly Leadership Center. More information on attending, watching or speaking at school board meetings can be found here.

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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