Despite rising COVID-19 cases around the region, Superintendent Steve Walts says he is not recommending any changes to the division's staggered plan to bring students back into classrooms.

The Prince William School Board on Wednesday night heard an update from Walts on the virus and efforts to continue to roll out in-person learning in county schools. Last week, the county’s youngest students, pre-kindergarteners and kindergarteners, went back to class for two days each week. Plans are for other elementary grades to follow in December and January.

On Wednesday morning, the school division’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 95 positive COVID-19 cases among staff and/or students at county schools. Last month there were 84, and in September there were 50.

Walts told board members he wasn't recommending any changes in operations, and noted that the relatively low number of students currently in classrooms was part of the reason.

The Prince William County Education Association, part of a national union representing teachers, joined teacher associations in Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington and Manassas Park earlier this week calling on Northam to order a statewide return to virtual-only learning.

Fairfax County schools earlier this week decided, one day before younger students were set to return, to delay its resumption of in-person classes for at least two weeks. Manassas Park schools have also decided to go virtual until at least January.

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday also said he doesn’t plan to impose any further restrictions on schools, saying “one size doesn’t fit all.”

“We give very consistent guidelines to our school districts, then allow the localities to make those decisions,” he added.

Walts said the plan continues for first grade students to return on Dec. 1, with second and third grades expected to follow Jan. 12. Students will attend two alternating days per week, with Mondays remaining all virtual.

Students in fourth through 12th grades will remain virtual through the second quarter, with a plan for fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth grades to start returning Jan. 26. Students in grades seventh, eighth, 10th, 11th, and 12th would begin returning Feb. 2.

Families can opt to continue remote learning for students.

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(4) comments

FixPrinceWilliam

Ha ha! Did you see the teachers with the "synchronous" learning! What a joke. They have 8 or 9 kids behind plexi glass in the classroom while talking to 15 kids on a laptop. What a joke.

Walts, Lateef, Huebner and Co. think this is just the greatest thing. And when Jessie grilled them they just sat there...ummmm, "No we aren't offering any communication regarding COVID." They drank the juice on the virus not existing.

The best was the mom with her son's failing report card! "It's virtual learning, blame the schools!" Ha ha! Better than the circus!

At least there were some adults in the room speaking to remind the school board that there is, in fact a pandemic, and that one teacher was excellent--she shared that the CDC has changed their guidelines about reopening schools, and child communicability. At least someone is doing her homework! Love the Channel 7 news bit: kids will get sick, teachers will get sick, someone will die...

Naaaaaaaaa[scared]

PWC resident since '69

You are right, it is a joke. Go back full time, even NYT advocates that now. You can get busy living or get busy dying

Careth222

It's such a joke. I'm sure the teachers have absolutely no problem going to the grocery store going to Target going to restaurants going to wineries but oh my gosh these little kids are just oh so so scary 🤣

FixPrinceWilliam

Careth and 69. Typical that all you read is the first sentence. Nor did you watch the school board meeting. They called the concurrent teaching synchronous learning. Just to let you know--since you neither watch nor read, just jump to your own gut feelings--the board has teachers in classrooms with 6-18 kids with the rest of the class on a laptop. That is the joke. Hybridization, as Mrs. Jessie pointed out from the Harvard study, and this poor planning is a joke.

As mentioned earlier--since you didn't read or watch [whistling]--the CDC retracted all their previous bologna. They now admit that children are spreaders and that reopening schools is not recommended because of aerosol contagion.

I know, I know, "I'm changing the narrative" or "that's fake news". Keep living in the land of make believe. It keeps the news interesting.[rolleyes]

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