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PWCS Creates Contingency Plan to Contain Spread of COVID-19

| March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments | News

With several cases of the COVID-19 virus in the region, Prince William County Schools has created a contingency plan should the outbreak escalate within the community.

Image from Prince William County Schools

On its webpage, PWCS’s Communications Department answers some frequently asked questions regarding its plan to respond to the virus. Questions such as at what point will the division close schools. The site will be frequently updated to stay current with the ever-evolving situation.

Childcare

First, PWCS recommends parents/guardians have a childcare plan in place should schools close. The closing could affect SACC as well.

It notes experts say there is no need for self-imposed quarantine at this time.

“There is no recommended local guidance for quarantine or other social distancing at this time. PWCS works closely with local, state, and national health agencies and will follow any guidance provided as it emerges.”

Meals

Students who receive free meals will still be able to receive them through “to-go” meals at select locations that would be announced as needed.

Various Degrees of Outbreak Levels and Responses

PWCS’s contingency plan recognizes various levels by which the school division may be affected by the virus. Any decisions would be made in coordination with the governor and state health agencies.

At this time- since Mar. 10 – schools are operating at a level 1. The Virginia Department of Health has announced several cases of the virus in the Northern Virginia region. Thus far, thankfully, none are known to be at any PWCS schools. As a result, there are no changes to school schedules, activities or cancellation of field trips at this time.

If one student at one school does tests positive, the immediate health risks to all students are still considered low, according to the website. However, the school may temporarily close for deep cleaning. Events may be canceled during that time.

If there are multiple cases at multiple schools, then those schools would have to be closed to be cleaned. All events and activities would be suspended. Students would be given some homework on various platforms.

In the case of widespread community transmission, all schools would close indefinitely as the situation is monitored. Students will be provided with homework (mostly reviewing what they have learned) that is available in various formats, including offline.

“If we have to modify our school schedules/close, we will provide learning opportunities in various forms as not all students have the access or equipment needed for online learning,” said Diana Gulotta, Director of Communications with PWCS.

State Obligated School Time

Prince William County Schools has built 18 extra days into its 2019-20 school calendar. PWCS now has approximately 13.5 extra days remaining. Should PWCS have to close beyond those 13 1/2 days, it will work with the Virginia Department of Education and perhaps obtain a waiver.

Talking with Students

“It is important that adults provide reassurance to students during this period of uncertainty,” said PWCS. Children want to know they are safe.

Parents know their children and what information they can handle. “Adjust the information you share to your children’s personality and needs, using words they understand.”

How to Talk to Children about Health News

BrainPop Video

Travel

As of March 10, Prince William County Schools has suspended any international travel for students and staff. It will follow any CDC Domestic Travel Guidance.

Prince William County Schools will not be accepting exchange students this year. Those traveling internationally should follow CDC guidelines.

More information is provided on this pwcs.edu page.

What You Should Know (Already)

At this time, the most important thing is for students and staff to do is to continue to practice good hygiene and wash hands often.

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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