Though there were glitches, the opening of PWC (Prince William County) schools was virtually amazing—pun intended! Dr. Walts praised administrators, teachers and all staff at each school for their hard work and dedication in preparing for September 8. Though there were some issues with the Zoom and CANVAS software programs, students signed on and were able to make immediate adjustments to the new learning environment.
Something sad that came out in discussion from community commenters is that some children did not turn on their cameras so they could be seen—because they’re embarrassed about their living conditions. Yet, teachers find it’s easier to instruct live faces. The Board is looking into backgrounds that those students can display behind them, so their cameras can be turned on with the rest of the class.
To make the roll-out smoother for all students, over 44,000 learning devices were handed out for remote learning. In addition, 700 new employees were hired and 15,515 courses were created in CANVAS. There were 34 million page-views in CANVAS in the first week, and 70,000 Zoom meetings! Even the ‘Return to Learn’ form that must be filled out by parents for each of their children is now on-line and the completion of those is going well.
On 9/3 alone 13,000 meals were served. PWCS has found that it’s more effective to hand out a variety of foods that comprise a five-day supply of meals for breakfast, lunch, supper and a snack plus supper and a snack for an additional two days. Parents drive-by to pick up the food at their respective schools.
Forbes Magazine named PWCS the top school division in the state to work for; Loudoun ranked 21 and Fairfax, 31 in that evaluation.
The BOCS (Board of County Supervisors) transferred a total of $25 million from the CARE Act to PWCS to facilitate the opening of schools this month. It is the intention that every student in PWC will have a learning device ASAP.
The schools’ second quarter that begins November 4 will transition to 50% on-site learning, 50% virtual. 61,000 students prefer on-site learning, 32,000 want to continue virtual. This break-down of the student population will take much additional planning and preparation that is underway already.
- Status quo: 100% virtual
- 50% on-campus, 50% virtual means High school will begin at 7:30 AM.
- K-3rd grade on-campus, rest virtual.
For on-campus learning, buses will do double runs because of social distancing.
— Posted by Tom Salmon for Doris, a fellow member of the Prince William and Manassas Family Alliance