Update on the 2020-21 School Year

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

At this time, we expect to open for in-person learning as scheduled, on Aug. 25. However, PWCS is developing an extensive plan for the potential for required virtual learning, various operational scenarios, and the associated health and safety considerations for staff and students.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia State Superintendent are expected to provide guidance within a month to schools regarding guidelines and requirements for safe opening of schools this fall.

Return to New Learning Plan

Representative parents are being brought together later this spring to virtually review, discuss, and provide focused input regarding the reopening of schools and our Return to New Learning plan. The plan includes:

  • contingencies for in-person,
  • a combination of in-person and distance learning for students who do not or cannot return in person, and
  • an option for the potential for required distance learning if schools are unable to reopen for in-person learning.

The learning plan has logistical and health/safety considerations needed to address the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. In addition, there are responses to support any further closures occurring as a result of possible future outbreaks or other emergencies.

It is important to note that our 2020-21 Return to New Learning Plan will continue to be adjusted as we get further decisions and guidance from the Governor and VDOE over the course of this spring and summer.

Preparation for the Return to New Learning

With the input of representative teachers, school leaders, and central office staff, the Division has developed a Return to New Learning Plan with two main road maps: Late Spring and Summer Preparation for the Return to New Learning and multiple contingencies for the actual Return to New Learning 2020-21.

The spring and summer 2020 preparation road map is focused on developing our new Virtual Schoolhouse using Canvas, which is a best-in-class learning management system (LMS). Canvas will unify our online learning and curriculum delivery using a series of integrated tools to enhance distance learning for every student.

Instruction Support Systems

To support all elements of the instructional cycle, an integrated Division-wide assessment system for monitoring student learning and achievement will be deployed within the LMS solution. MasteryConnect is a digital, online, and integrated assessment system with Standards of Learning aligned items banks featuring robust reporting capabilities. It can be utilized for performance-based, formative, summative, and benchmark assessments in all courses at all levels.

The development and use of collaborative, cross-department action work groups, including teachers and administrators, will be assigned to specific aspects of the plan to gain further stakeholder input on the implementation for students, staff, and families.

Additional Procurement of Laptops

In anticipation of the need to do required virtual learning this fall, PWCS is working to conduct another procurement of laptops at the start of the fiscal year which is a part of our approved budget.

This purchase, combined with the previously announced procurement, will allow us to complete the digital equity plan implementation of having a consistent device for every high school student by November.

We also believe that we will be able to provide a device to every high school student who needs one for at-home learning, using both new devices and existing devices, at the start of the fall 2020-21 academic year.

As plans become clearer and more solidified, additional communications will be shared with the community in the coming weeks.


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