The Prince William County School Board must soon decide whether to move from “virtual learning” to a “50/50” model. The school division recently presented three options for the second marking period.
The options are remain status quo, implement 50% model for all levels, or phase the 50% model starting with K-3rd grade, Superintendent Steven Walts explained at the Sept. 16 school board meeting. The school division did not provide much additional information on what the 50/50 model would look like since so much remains undetermined.
The school board adopted a directive in July to return virtual-only for the vast majority of students. The goal to move to a 50% in-person model in the second quarter. That means 2 days a week in-person in smaller classes. Parents could elect for their children to remain 100% virtual. For those attending virtually, their classes would align with in-person students. All plans are subject to change at this juncture.
“It is imperative that should the School Board choose to deviate from this plan, staff must be informed as soon as possible,” Walts said. Health concerns remain the primary issue. Over the week leading up to the school board meeting, PWCS required six students and 11 staff members to take a two-week quarantine, either for testing positive for COVID-19 or coming in close contact with someone who had.
“[Should] COVID remain at current or increased levels, there is the likelihood that positive cases may occur within schools, and that may require staff and students to quarantine,” Walts told the board.
A 50/50 model was laid out over the summer. Students electing to return to school would be grouped and attend school two days a week. That amounts to half the face time than students now have with teachers through their Zoom. Asynchronous work over the internet will continue on other weekdays. Classes would be ½-1/3 their usual size, allowing students to sit at least three feet a part. Students would be required to wear face masks…