Return to Learn Frequently Asked Questions - Updated Sept. 14, 2020

'Return to Learn' FAQ for Families

Student Health & Safety

Will the school division's policies regarding student illnesses be updated due to COVID-19?

Prince George County Public Schools' illness guidelines will remain the same and information regarding COVID-19 has been added. Any symptoms of illness requires that students stay home. If those symptoms persist, a medical doctor should be consulted to determine the nature of the illness and next steps.  

Please visit the Prince George County Public Schools COVID-19 Health Services Mitigation Plan for PK-12 that includes detailed procedures to be followed for student illness.  For example, in the section entitled Sick Day Guidelines, the following procedures are provided such as:

First month after school re-opens a student can return to school with a non-COVID 19 Diagnosis as follows:

    • Active vomiting or diarrhea:  72 hours since last episode
    • Fever:  72 hours fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication
    • After 24 hours on antibiotics for variety of bacterial causes
    • Doctor's note of clearance for various student-specific medical conditions

Are parents required to inform the school district if their child tests positive for COVID-19?

Parents will be required to notify their child's school if the child tests positive for COVID-19. From there, the appropriate measures will take place to send students, faculty, and staff home following the health department's recommendations.  While the Health Department will also notify PGCPS Health Services Coordinator, we want to receive this information as quickly as possible.

Will staff be trained to know when it is appropriate to send students to their school's clinic to be checked by a nurse for potential COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes, teachers and staff will receive training in regards to appropriate times students should be seen by their school's nurse for potential symptoms of COVID-19 as detailed in the Prince George County Public Schools COVID-19 Health Services Mitigation Plan for PK-12 instruction in the section entitled When Students Should Visit Health Office and Recommendations.

Will there be additional nurses available at schools to handle students exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms?

Separate rooms will be designated in each school building so any student or staff member who exhibits COVID 19 symptoms can be separated from other students and staff. This separate room will need to be monitored by a designated staff member.  This information can be found in the PGCPS COVID-19 Health Services Mitigation Plan for PK-12 under the section entitled Prince George County School Clinics.

What happens if a student or faculty/staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and has had contact with other students and/or employees?

Any individuals who came into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days past their last contact with the confirmed person, per the Virginia Department of Health. The health department will do contact tracing and nurses will assist the health department if/when needed.  This information can be found in the PGCPS COVID-19 Health Services Mitigation Plan for PK-12 under the section entitled Preparing for When Someone Gets Sick.

J.E.J. Moore Middle School uses a 'Teaming Model,' how are virtual teachers utilized in the teaming model?

On Page 7 of the Return to Learn Instructional Plan, it is detailed due to the social, emotional, and academic needs of middle school-aged students at J.E.J. Moore Middle School, all students will be scheduled on teams. Teachers will have in-person and virtual sections of instruction. 

Will some form of partition (e.g. Plexiglas) be erected around student and/or teacher desks?

Along with six feet of physical to the greatest extent possible, Prince George County Public Schools will provide face masks for students and staff. Those masks are our best line of defense in protecting students, faculty, and staff from COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. 

Will students have their temperatures checked prior to entering the school building? 

Temperature checks will be conducted before a student is able to enter the building.

Will teachers and staff have their temperatures checked in the building?

Staff are asked to check from symptoms utilizing the 'Symptom Checker' form.

Instruction

What options are available for families who wish to partake in virtual instruction but live in areas with limited internet connectivity?

We realize that a reliable internet access can be a challenge in some parts of our county and Prince George County Public Schools have a few options for internet access:

    • Families can apply to use an internet hotspot. We will have a limited number of internet hotspots that are available. The hotspots use Verizon’s cellular network to provide internet service and we cannot guarantee service in all parts of the county. 
    • In addition, all of our school parking lots have wireless internet access points available that students can connect to with their laptops or smart devices.

What is the plan if the we move back to Phase II or Phase I? 

We follow the Phase II Mitigation Plan The On-Campus Continuum of Instruction allows us to be able to return to virtual instruction on a temporary or extended basis if the state were to move back to a more restrictive phase.

Transportation

How will bus routes function during the upcoming school year?

Our bus routes will look different this year due to the limited number of students that can be transported at one time.  Students will be seated one per seat, staggered, aisles and windows.

Will students be able to take part in field trips during the upcoming school year?

Currently, all field trips are canceled at this time.

'Return to Learn' FAQ for Faculty & Staff

Faculty and Staff Health & Safety

Will teachers be given an option between teaching in-person or teaching online?

Once we are able to determine 1) how many of our students will attend for in-person instruction (for as many days as are safely and logistically possible) as well as 2) how many will opt for the full virtual/remote option, we will be able to assign teachers to support each option.  For example, if approximately 30% of our students opt for virtual/remote instruction, the teachers necessary to support those students would then be assigned to provide virtual/remote instruction with the remainder assigned to support in-person instruction.  

In making the determination of which teachers will be assigned to virtual/remote instruction, priority will be placed on aligning high-risk identified teachers/staff to virtual teaching positions that align with student needs for virtual instruction, when feasible. To do so, identified/eligible teachers requesting priority placement for virtual instruction to reduce risk may not necessarily be matched with their current grade level or subject area.  

How do I determine if I am eligible as a high-risk staff member?

To determine if you are eligible as a high-risk staff member, staff over the age of 60 and any staff with an underlying health condition should seek the advice of their medical provider. Vulnerable workers include individuals over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions. 

Those underlying medical conditions include but are not limited to: chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, cancer, hypertension, severe heart conditions, weakened immunity, autoimmune diseases, severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis.

If you believe you may be a vulnerable worker, please contact Human Resources.

For more detailed information, please consult the Prince George County Public Schools COVID-19 Health Services Mitigation Plan for K-12 instruction.

Will teachers be provided with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) or masks?

Yes. Principals will work with their staff to provide face masks or a face shield. Teachers can also elect to use their own masks or shields if they choose to do so.

What procedures are in place should a student or faculty/staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and has had contact with other students and/or employees?

Any individuals who came into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days past their last contact with the confirmed person, per the Virginia Department of Health. The health department will do contact tracing and nurses will assist the health department if/when needed.  This information can be found in the PGCPS COVID-19 Health Services Mitigation Plan for PK-12 under the section entitled Preparing for When Someone Gets Sick.

Is there any protocol for situations where an individual declines to follow health and safety guidelines implemented by the school division?

The Return to Learn plan details the culture that will be created regarding the importance for following the Health Mitigation Plan and safety protocols, to include the use of mask wearing as strongly encouraged and highly recommended.  Training for teachers, staff, and students at the start of the school year will include the importance of following the health and safety plan.  As with the regular school year and adherence to school rules, policies and practices, building administrative teams will continue the support for the climate and culture of the school toward following the safety protocols as laid out in the Return to Learn and Health Mitigation Plans with the collaborative efforts of all school staff and faculty members.  Any individual issues that arise will be addressed as such, upon occurrence. 

How will paraprofessionals be impacted by the current instructional plans for the 2020-2021 school year?

Paraprofessionals will continue to support students in the in-person and virtual models of instruction while following safety protocols.

Will pacing guides differ between virtual and in-person learning?

Pacing Guides will be the same for virtual and in-person learning models.  Departments will plan collaboratively for in-person and virtual learning.

Will there be training on physical distancing and other mitigation measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19?

Training will be done in compliance the Return to Learn and Health Mitigation Plans to ensure physical distancing, mask wearing, and virtual/remote access to meetings or training sessions are utilized.  

J.E.J. Moore Middle School uses a 'Teaming Model,' how are virtual teachers utilized in the teaming model?

On Page 7 of the Return to Learn Instructional Plan, it is detailed due to the social, emotional, and academic needs of middle school-aged students at J.E.J. Moore Middle School, all students will be scheduled on teams. Teachers will have in-person and virtual sections of instruction. 

Will some form of partition (e.g. Plexiglas) be erected around student and/or teacher desks?

Along with six feet of physical to the greatest extent possible, Prince George County Public Schools will provide face masks for students and staff. Those masks are our best line of defense in protecting students, faculty, and staff from COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. 

Will students have their temperatures checked prior to entering the school building? 

Temperature checks will be conducted before a student is able to enter the building.

Will teachers and staff have their temperatures checked in the building?

Staff are asked to check from symptoms utilizing the 'Symptom Checker' form.

Human Resources

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, will they be required to use their sick leave?

Quarantined employees will not have to use their sick leave and will be compensated for up to two weeks if the employee provides the appropriate documentation from a healthcare provider. The law provides for two weeks of fully paid coverage for those quarantined by a governmental agency, such as the Virginia Department of Health or healthcare provider, per occurrence. 

If an employee uses more than the two weeks mentioned above, per occurrence, and has exhausted all leave, the employee will go into leave without pay status.

Additionally, Human Resources will work on a case by case basis to provide consideration to employees who can complete their work from home if they are quarantined but not feeling ill.  For example, if a classroom teacher is quarantined along with her students for a period of time, she may provide virtual/remote instruction for that time period which would result in no or limited leave taken.  

Will COVID-19 testing costs be covered by the school division?

Any Prince George County Public Schools employee who is on the school division’s healthcare plan will be covered 100% for COVID-19 testing.

Should teachers become absent, how will this affect substitute teacher demand?

We are working with ESS to provide a specific number of subs daily based on student enrollment.  Should we need additional subs, ESS will work on providing them to the division.

Will resources be made available for teachers and employees who may desire mental health access?

We currently offer Employee Assistance Program that is available for a variety of mental health needs for employees, including the pandemic, which includes 24/7 phone line, 4 free counseling session with option to continue as well as other services and mechanisms available through School Counselors, School Psychologists, Social Workers, and Military Counseling, MFLC, Therapeutic Day Treatment, and Community Services Board 19 Crisis Intervention Counseling. If additional supports are needed, the division can explore that need as need arises.

Anyone who participates with the division’s health insurance has access to EAP. The contact number is on the insurance card and Pierce Benefit Group can also direct employees.

Finance

Would some employees face furloughs if COVID-19 forced the district to suspend in-person instruction during the 2020-2021 school year?

Even though Prince George County Public Schools continues to await the return of the Virginia General Assembly to update its revenue projections and potentially amend its budget, PGCPS is committed to exhausting any means necessary to keep all of our employees working and paid.

Important Resources and Information

PGCPS Preparations of Possible Scenarios for 'Return to Learn' in Fall 2020
Presented to PG School Board on 6-1-2020

PGCPS Health Mitigation Plan
Submitted To Virginia Department of Education 6-17-2020
Updated 8-26-2020

PGCPS Update on Planning for 'Return to Learn'
Presented to PG School Board on 7-13-2020

PGCPS Return to Learn Instructional Plan for 2020-2021 
Submitted to the Virginia Department of Education 8-12-2020

 PGCPS 'Return to Play' Plan
Safely Resuming Athletics at Prince George High School
Updated 9-9-2020

Preparing to Safely Reopen Schools for 2020-2021 School Year
Presented to PG School Board on 8-6-2020