Employee Information

Return to Work FAQ

The Department of Human Resources has developed the below FAQs to assist employees as we begin the 2021-22 school year. In addition to these FAQs, please also refer to those PWCS policies and regulations governing employee compensation, leave, benefits, and other conditions of employment. To the extent that those policies or regulations are in conflict with recent state or federal laws or regulations enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or to any applicable emergency orders, or where the School Board or Superintendent of Schools otherwise deem it necessary due to special or emergency circumstances arising out of the pandemic, the School Board has the authority to waive such policies and the Superintendent of Schools has the authority to waive such regulations, or portions thereof, under PWCS Policy 102, “Formulation and Adoption of Policies and Regulations.

 

UPDATED: 8/18/21

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)

PWCS-EPSL Leave

 

The Families First Corona Virus Relief Act (FFCRA) took effect on April 1, 2020 and expired on December 31, 2020. The FFCRA mandates were not extended by Congress with the signing of the COVID Relief Bill on December 27, 2020. Rather than allow the leave benefit to expire, Prince William County Public Schools has voluntarily continued to offer sick leave benefits similar to the previous FFCRA mandated Employee Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) benefits, with limitations. These limitations are in accordance with the updated CDC guidance for COVID-19 quarantine (fully vaccinated personnel no longer have to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19) and also recognize that all PWCS employees have been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated.  

PWCS-EPSL provides paid sick leave when an employee is unable to work for a qualifying reason related to COVID-19. Paid leave under PWCS-EPSL is for a maximum of two weeks (10 days) and the payment amount is based on the employee’s scheduled work hours and reason for utilizing the leave. Qualification for PWCS-EPSL is divided into two categories:
  1. Employees who are vaccinated who are required to isolate due to a personal diagnosis of COVID-19 - In the unlikely event that a vaccinated employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 and is required to isolate (as documented by a medical provider), the employee may receive up to two weeks (10 working days) of pay (up to a maximum of $511 per day) when the employee is unable to work.
  2. Employees who are unable to be vaccinated due to a medically documented reason, or because of a sincerely held religious belief who become ill or are required to quarantine due to COVID-19- Such employee may receive up to two weeks (10 working days) of pay (up to a maximum of $511 per day) when the employee is unable to work for one of the following reasons.
    • Employee is subject to quarantine or isolation* due to an order by a federal, state or local entity;
    • Employee is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine;
    • Employee is experiencing symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis;
    • Employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

*Per the Virginia Department of Health and the Prince William County Health Department, quarantine applies to a well-person who has been exposed to someone who is sick with COVID and whose movement is restricted. Isolation applies to a person who is isolating at home due to a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19.

In order to request benefits under PWCS-EPSL, a completed Request for PWCS- EPSL Leave form will need to be submitted to the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services along with the associated documentation to be considered for payment for the leave no later than 15 days after the commencement of the leave.

Who is eligible for paid sick leave benefits under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)??

All full-time and part-time employees of PWCS, regardless of how long they have been employed, are eligible for PWCS-EPSL, as outlined above. Temporary and substitute employees are not eligible for PWCS-EPSL.

Under the PWCS-EPSL, how much paid leave will PWCS provide?

Full-time employees are entitled to two weeks (10 working days) of paid leave (subject to daily maximums). Part-time employees are entitled to a number of hours equal to the number of hours that the employee normally works over a two-week (10 working day) period.
If an employee’s need for PWCS-EPSL is less than the two-week (10 working day) maximum duration, PWCS-EPSL shall cease beginning with the employee's next scheduled work shift immediately following the termination of the need for leave due to applicable COVID-19 reasons.
What amount of pay can I expect to receive under PWCS-EPSL for my own quarantine, isolation or COVID-19 related illness?

PWCS-EPSL will provide up to a maximum of two weeks (10 working days) of 100 percent of the regular rate of pay (based on the employee’s scheduled hours) up to a maximum of $511 per day, when EPSL is taken due to an employee’s own COVID-19 related illness or quarantine. Employees using EPSL for their own quarantine, isolation, or COVID-19 related illness, may supplement EPSL benefits with accrued sick leave, annual leave, personal leave, and/or unpaid vacation days up to, but not exceeding, 100 percent of the employee's normal base pay.
What amount of pay can I expect to receive under PWCS-EPSL to care for another individual who is under quarantine, isolation order or ill due to COVID-19?

There is no benefit under PWCS-EPSL to care for an individual who is quarantined, isolated or ill due to COVID-19. However, you may use accrued annual leave, personal leave, unpaid vacation days, and sick leave for this purpose.
If PWCS-EPSL benefits provide less than my full rate of pay, am I able to supplement my pay with my own leave?

You may supplement PWCS-EPSL benefits with your accrued annual leave, personal leave, sick leave, and/or unpaid vacation days if you would receive less than your full regular pay under PWCS- EPSL.
When will PWCS-EPSL benefits begin?

PWCS-EPSL will begin the day after the qualifying event. PWCS-EPSL benefits may be retroactive. Employees must provide documentation to support the use of EPSL as soon as possible, but no later than 15 calendar days after the date they initially requested leave. Required documentation may include a copy of federal, state or local quarantine or isolation or related to COVID-19 or written documentation by a health care provider advising employee to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 along with other documentation for the specific situation (medical documentation to support decision not to be vaccinated). This documentation must be submitted to the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu.
How much notice do employees have to give before taking PWCS-EPSL and how do employees apply for this leave?

Employees are expected to notify their supervisor as soon as possible, or at least by the first workday missed due a COVID related absence. Employees must contact benefits to formalize the request to use PWCS-EPSL. A completed PWCS- EPSL Leave form must be submitted to the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services along with the associated documentation to be considered for payment for the leave no later than 15 days after the commencement of the leave.
Can leave benefits be used intermittently under the PWCS Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)?

No, PWCS-EPSL may not be taken on an intermittent basis.

If I exhaust my PWCS-EPSL and still need time away from work for a COVID-related reason, will I be able to use my accrued leave to cover my absence?

A number of factors affect your ability to use leave outside of the provisions of the PWCS-EPSL. If you have exhausted your benefits under PWCS-EPSL and have a subsequent need for leave due to additional COVID- 19 events, employees will need to use their accrued leave.  Additional questions may be answered by contacting the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu
If I exhaust my PWCS-EPSL and have no additional accrued leave available, how will my leave be handled?

Should you exhaust your PWCS-EPSL and have additional COVID- 19 exposure, please contact the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services for further guidance.

 

 

Other Benefits-Related Questions

 
What should I do if I have underlying medical conditions?

Employees with certain underlying medical conditions which place them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 may qualify for an accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment unless doing so would cause undue hardship.

 

To help us determine whether your medical condition constitutes a disability as defined by the ADA and, if so, whether reasonable workplace accommodations can be provided, the following process will be followed:

1. You and your physician will need to complete the COVID-19 Disability Accommodation Request Form, reviewing your job description and completing all fields in the form. This form is available as a download below.
2. Submit your completed COVID-19 Disability Accommodation Request Form to the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services.
3. The Office of Benefits and Retirement Services will review your forms and notify you of your eligibility/ineligibility for reasonable accommodations during the pandemic. This does not mean that your requested accommodation is automatically granted, only that you are eligible/ineligible to be considered for an accommodation.
4. You will be scheduled for an interactive process meeting with your administrator and an administrator from the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services.
5. During the interactive process meeting, the job-related limitations imposed by your disability and how those limitations could be overcome with a reasonable accommodation will be discussed. Your preferred accommodations will be discussed, and a determination will be made regarding whether your preferred accommodation is not available or creates an undue hardship for PWCS. If so, alternative accommodations will be discussed.

6. Once accommodation options have been explored, PWCS will choose what accommodations, if any, will be implemented and both you and your administrator will receive written correspondence documenting the chosen reasonable accommodations.
7. If you are receiving accommodations, you should let your administrator know if there are changes or problems with the accommodation so that we can address your concerns in a timely manner.

What are "reasonable accommodations"?

In general, an accommodation is any reasonable change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. An accommodation is reasonable if it doesn’t create undue hardship for the employer.

 

There are three categories of reasonable accommodations:

1. Modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position; or

2. Modifications or adjustments that enable an employee with a disability to enjoy such equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities; or

3. Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires.

 

Throughout the pandemic, PWCS has been very proactive in providing reasonable accommodations through implementation of many mitigation measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and implementation of workplace protocols, to allow for the safest return possible. Each employee’s health requirements are different, so the interactive process meetings are individualized to try and meet each employee’s preferred accommodations, the unique needs of each employee’s health situation, and the specific assignment.

How will my situation be handled if my underlying health condition is not one that would place me at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, or if my medical concern is that I live with someone who is medically fragile or has a compromised immune system and I am concerned about exposing my household member to the virus?

 

PWCS is not required to engage in the interactive process or implement reasonable accommodations for employees whose medical concerns are for someone other than themselves. However, administrators will work with you regarding additional mitigation measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and implementation of workplace protocols that meet federal, state, and local criteria for safety during this pandemic.

 

What is the current status of COVID-19 in Virginia?

This situation is rapidly evolving. For the most up-to-date information, check the Virginia Department of Healthwebsite, which is updated daily.
What if I get sick with COVID-19? What health guidance should I follow?

Employees should work directly with their health care provider on any issue concerning their health including COVID-19.  If you have general questions concerning COVID-19, you can visit the Virginia Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention (CDC).
Will staff who exhibit symptoms be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to return to school or work?
A negative COVID-19 test is not required in order for staff to return to work or school, instead only those who have met the CDC criteria for return to school should do so. The VDH created a release from isolation or quarantine infographic to determine when those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to work or school. Consult with the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services to develop a plan for returning to work at benefits@pwcs.edu. (As published by Virginia Department of Education)
 
I believe that I have contracted coronavirus through contact while performing my work duties. Will this be covered under workers’ compensation?

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation law provides benefits when an employee suffers an accidental injury, and in some cases, when they contract an occupational disease caused by their employment. While workers’ compensation law provides compensation for “occupational diseases” that arise out of and in the course of employment, Virginia excludes “ordinary diseases of life” (e.g., the common cold or flu). To be covered under workers’ compensation, the employee must prove to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission that the illness arose out of the employment as defined by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Code.
Do our benefit plans include telemedicine or a way to see medical professionals remotely?

Yes. Each of our providers, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente, offer these services. You will need your insurance card, pharmacy information, and a debit or credit card to access these virtual services. If you have difficulty, please contact Lisa Figueroa at figuerlm@pwcs.edu or 703-791-8022, or Elisa Pickette at pickete@pwcs.edu
  • Kaiser Permanente, can call the advice number on the Kaiser Permanente membership card to speak with a licensed care provider or to schedule a telephone or video appointment with your doctor. If you don’t have your membership card with you, visit the Kaiser Permanente website and click on “24/7 advice.” You can make most video visit appointments online 24/7 from your computer or mobile device. Choose a time that works best for you and register at kp.org. You may also call the Kaiser Permanente appointment line to schedule your video visit at 1-800-777-7904 (TTY 711).
  • Staff and families who have PWCS insurance coverage through Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, should contact your Primary Care Physician, Anthem Member Services or the 24/7 Nurse Line for treatment advice. Contact numbers are listed on your Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield ID Card. You may also utilize the Live Health Online feature of your plan by registering on the Live Health Online website.
Are employees eligible for Short Term Disability benefits if placed under quarantine? (VRS - Hybrid employees)

There are a wide variety of scenarios under which an individual may be quarantined, ranging from a voluntary self-quarantine without a COVID-19 diagnosis to a mandated quarantine with a diagnosis.

If an individual is quarantined as directed by a licensed health care professional or government agency, the Standard will assess a claim for benefits as follows:
  • If the individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is unable to work from home, they will remain insured and eligible under the group Short Term Disability (STD) policy.
  • If the individual has not been diagnosed and is unable to work from home, they will retain coverage and eligibility under the STD policy should they eventually become disabled.
  • It is important to remember that under most STD policies a covered individual must be unable to work, either at their place of employment or from home, and must experience a loss of income to be eligible for STD benefits in all cases.

Employee Safety, Health & Wellness at Work

The social and emotional well-being of our employees is key to our success. Our goal is to ensure that all employees are available for work at the highest levels across the division.

 

As a PWCS employee, the connections you make changes lives. The information in this guide will equip you with the tools needed to support your pursuit of wellness so that you will be better equipped to respond to the important demands of your job.

 

Your team in the Department of Human Resources and Student Services are working together to follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) for guidance and support for all employees and students. We know that we can only give our best to others when we have the best emotional and physical well-being for ourselves.

 

In the course of your employment, supporting our students and staff may take an emotional toll on you during this pandemic. Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) understands the demands and pressures associated with balancing work and personal life can be overwhelming. PWCS wants to be certain our employees are provided with the best possible support and services. ComPsych provides an Employee Assistance Program and work/life balance services for our employees and their immediate family members.

 

ComPsych Guidance Resources Brochure (English PDF)

ComPsych Guidance Resources Brochure (Spanish PDF)

 

We all need a support network from time to time. Your Guidance Resources program can help sort it out. The program is provided free of charge and offers someone to talk to and resources to consult whenever and wherever you need them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

Call ComPsych today for confidential help.
Call 844.880.6915 TDD: 800.697.0353

 

ComPsych, can help with many areas of your life that can be very stressful to navigate:

 

  • Psychological, Anxiety Related & Partner/Relationship
  • Divorce/Separation, Family Law & Civil
  • Income Tax Issues, Hardship Call & General Financial
  • Government Services: Financial Assistance, Moving: Apartment Hunting & Child Care: Nanny

TeleHealth

We recommend Anthem members use telehealth when possible to help prevent the spread of infection and improve access to care. Anthem’s telehealth provider, LiveHealth Online, is a safe and effective way for members to receive medical guidance related to COVID-19 from their homes using a smartphone, tablet or computer with a web cam.

 

Telehealth services, including video visits, phone consults and email consults, have been a vital part of the care at Kaiser Permanente for many years. In response to COVID-19, the health system has encouraged patients to use telehealth for most appointments and to email their doctor with their health questions. Telehealth allows members to stay home, while helping mitigate the community spread of COVID-19 and adhere to “social distancing” guidelines, as recommended by the CDC. In addition, it preserves personal protective equipment.

 

Through its website, kp.org, Kaiser Permanente has the capacity to offer thousands of video visits daily to ensure that members receive the care they need, in the safety of their homes. In fact, over two days last week, members utilized more than 200 e-visits via email and almost 700 video visits per day in the mid-Atlantic region

 

 

What if I have a safety concern at work?

If you note a concern when returning to your building, you are encouraged to speak with your administrator. If you are uncomfortable speaking with your administrator, you can email healthandsafety@pwcs.edu or call the anonymous tip line at any time at 703-791-2821. All concerns are taken seriously and will be followed-up to ensure the safety of all.

 

I have medical concerns with returning on-site to work. Where can I get more information on what supports are available to me?

Every precaution has been taken to protect the health and safety of our students, our employees, and others in the school community during this pandemic. However, we understand that some employees may have medical concerns that impact their comfort level with returning onsite for work. Please visit this link to learn more about how to navigate process and other supports available to you.

 

Will PWCS continue to implement daily health screening questionnaires for students and staff?

 Yes, daily health screening questionnaires will remain in place for all students and staff. The student health screening questions can be found on the Office of Student Services website. The staff screening questions are posted beside each timeclock and also remain as part of the  PWCS network log-on process.

Will staff who exhibit symptoms be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to return to school or work?

A negative COVID-19 test is not required in order for staff to return to work or school, instead only those who have met the CDC criteria for return to work or school should do so. The VDH created a release from isolation or quarantine infographic to determine when those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to work or school. Consult with the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services to develop a plan for returning to work at benefits@pwcs.edu.

 

When can individuals with symptoms of COVID 19 discontinue home isolation? 

The VDH created a release from isolation or quarantine infographic to determine when those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to work or school. Consult with the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services to develop a plan for returning to work at benefits@pwcs.edu. Consult with the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services to develop a plan for returning to work at benefits@pwcs.edu. 

 

How will  physical distancing be enforced and how will situations be handled when students are not adhering to the expectations?

In our school setting, the goal is to achieve: a minimum of 3 feet of distance between students; a minimum of 6 feet of distance between students and adults; and a minimum of 6 feet of distance between adults. The expectation to maintain  physical distancing has been and will continue to be communicated to parents, students and staff. Staff will set the expectation, model, and instruct on the importance of this measure, positively reinforce and know that there will be some challenges due to the various developmental levels of students, the setting, and the number of students back in buildings. The compliance to this goal would consider factors of student understanding and needs based on developmental levels, similar to other expectations set by schools. Teams often consider individual factors when addressing behavioral concerns and this will be the same for the practice of physical distancing.

 

Are employees expected to wear face coverings in the workplace?

Universal indoor masking will be required in all PWCS facilities at the start of the 2021-22 school year for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status with some exceptions. Additional exceptions may be made for medical conditions or a sincerely held religious objection to wearing masks.  Please see this link for more information.

Employees do not have to wear face coverings if alone in their offices, classrooms, or cubicles. When operating or riding in any PWCS vehicle containing more than one person, face coverings must be worn.

PWCS will honor these identified exceptions to mask wearing for staff and patrons: while eating and drinking; while exercising; for any person who has trouble breathing or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance; for any person seeking to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, for which the mouth needs to be visible; and for any person with a health condition that keeps them from wearing a face covering. In addition, vaccinated staff can remove the mask when wearing of the mask inhibits communication in the instructional setting when it is imperative the mouth is visible to teach concepts using facial cues or phonetics.

Employees are encouraged and permitted to use their own face coverings, if the face coverings entirely cover the nose and mouth area, fit snugly, and are laundered periodically. Face coverings must be discarded when torn, have holes in them, or are excessively soiled. Please ensure that any wording/pictures/symbols on the face covering themselves adhere to our professionalism regulation.

 

 

Is there any flexibility in offices or classrooms when staff is alone and not around others?

Yes. employees that are alone and occupying a discrete, separate space are not required to wear a mask. In all other indoor areas and anytime an employee is not alone, masks must be worn, subject to the permitted exceptions.

 

Will face coverings be required of visitors to PWCS buildings?

Yes, all staff, students and visitors to PWCS buildings are required to wear appropriate face coverings.

 

Will the county provide face coverings for employees?

Employees may use PWCS provided face coverings or use their own. Employees may request face coverings from their supervisors if unable to provide their own.

Do I have to wear a medical respirator (N95 mask)?

Only staff that work in the clinic or isolation room, when students are present in those rooms that are symptomatic or presumed positive with COVID-19, are required to wear an N95 mask and other personal protective equipment. Those employees will be fitted for the N95 respirator and will be provided appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as outlined by CDC and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) standards.

 

How do I properly wear a face covering?

  • Ensure the cloth face covering fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Cover your nose and mouth;
  • Properly secure to your head with the original ties or loop, where applicable;
  • Meet the guidance outlined by the CDC;
  • Include multiple layers of fabric;
  • Allow for breathing without restriction;
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape;
  • Be clean and in good condition;
  • Remain in place without being held by hands;
  •  Professional, and comply with PWCS and department level dress and appearance policies and must be free from potentially inappropriate, offensive, or political language, images, and graphics.

I have a medical condition that prohibits me from wearing a mask, what do I do?

Employees whose medical condition prohibits them from wearing a mask should contact the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu. to discuss their concerns and reasonable accommodations that may be available.

 

Will employees be provided face coverings, wipes and hand sanitizer, if they report to work?

Employees may use PWCS provided face coverings or use their own. Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be available in all departments and schools for all employees to use. Hand sanitizer stations will be in public/common areas. Hand sanitizer, disinfectant, gloves, and paper towels will be available in all classrooms.

 

What is PWCS doing to ensure clean air circulation in PWCS buildings?

PWCS follows CDC and Virginia Health Department guidance to reduce the risk for exposure to coronavirus. Schools are designed to ventilate outdoor air throughout the day to reduce the buildup of pollutants and odors. Maintenance staff conduct routine and preventative maintenance on all mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems – including replacing air filters. Custodians and operating engineers conduct building checks to identify where workers might be at risk while at work (e.g., checking exhaust fans in restrooms for proper operation). PWCS is making sure that HVAC is running before, during, and after school to ensure proper fresh air cycles. We are auditing and evaluating HVAC systems to ensure compliance with fresh air standards.

What has the Division done to ensure our work environments are properly cleaned and sanitized?

Daytime custodians focus on cleaning high touch areas (doorknobs, handles, fixtures, etc.) with a medical grade sanitizing solution with frequent monitoring and cleaning of restrooms throughout the day. Custodians have been trained for enhanced cleaning protocols. Custodians will conduct regular cleaning/disinfecting during and after school placing emphasis on “high-touch” areas throughout the school. We also utilize equipment for enhanced cleaning (electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, manual/battery operated pump sprayers, foggers).

 

What guidance will be provided if a staff member or student brings their own cleaning wipes and would like to clean their desk or workspace?

Schools and departments will provide appropriate cleaning items, including wipes, should an employee or student request to clean their own area. Staff and students are strongly discouraged from bringing their own cleaning supplies from home due to the potential for reactions between the approved Division cleaning products and products purchased outside of the Division.

COVID-19 Notification Requirements

As an employee, what are the notifications procedures if I test positive or believe I may have COVID-19?

If you experience any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should immediately leave work (if applicable),notify your supervisor and seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider. Once you make the official notification your supervisor will send you an email with next steps that include completing a staff surveillance form. Please be prepared when you notify your supervisor to disclose any close contacts if you are COVID positive, a probable positive, or ill with COVID like symptoms with no other alternative medical diagnosis. Appropriate actions shall be taken to ensure all areas are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and any staff member or student that were reported to have been in close contact with the infected staff member shall be notified.

What are the notifications procedures if I am a substitute or temporary employee and test positive or believe I have COVID-19?

If you have physically worked on site within 48 hours of experiencing COVID like symptoms or from the date your positive test was taken you should immediately leave work (if applicable), notify your supervisor if you are at work, notify the Office of Substitute and Temporary Employment ( HRSub@pwcs.edu or 703.791.7897), and seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider. Once you make the official notification, you will be directed as to the next steps which shall include the same protocol reviewed in the question above.

I have been notified that I was on the “close contact” list for an employee or student that is experiencing COVID like symptoms with no other diagnosis or presumptive/positive for COVID-19. What does that mean and what do I need to do?

For COVID-19 exposures for an adult per the Virginia Department of Health’s definition, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick or tested positive, until the time the patient was isolated.

 

Close contacts have to quarantine with the following exceptions:

 

  • Someone who has been fully vaccinated and shows no symptoms of COVID-19 does not need to quarantine, but should be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
  • Someone who has had COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and has recovered and remains without new COVID-19 symptoms..

 

Unless you meet one of the two aforementioned exceptions, you will need to stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 days, starting from the last day you were possibly in contact with the infected person (exposed to COVID-19)

  • If you are unable to stay home for 14 days and don’t have symptoms, you may leave home after 10 days without testing; or after 7 days with a negative PCR or antigen test performed on or after Day 5.
  • Self-quarantine means staying home, monitoring your health, and maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times.
  • If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a face covering. This will help protect the people around you.
  • If you need support or assistance with self-quarantine, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance as well as PWCS EAP. 
  • Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath but other symptoms may be present as well. Trouble breathing is a more serious warning sign that you need medical attention.
  • Use CDC’s self-checker tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.
  • You may be eligible for leave under PWCS-EPSL or PWCS regulations, contact Office of Benefits at benefits@pwcs.edu or 703.791.8568 for additional information.

I am vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the last three months and have been notified that I was on the “close contact” list for an employee or student that is experiencing COVID like symptoms with no other diagnosis or presumptive/positive for COVID-19. Do I have to quarantine?

The following close contacts do not have the quarantine:

  1. Someone who has been fully vaccinated and shows no symptoms of COVID-19 does not need to quarantine, but should be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
  2. Individuals who have had COVID-19 within the previous 3 months and have recovered and have no new COVID-19 symptoms, also do not have the quarantine.

If you meet either of these criteria but begin to show symptoms, it is advised you isolate and seek a test for COVID-19. You also will need to follow the notification procedures for reporting that you believe you may have COVID-19.

Someone living in my household is experiencing COVID like symptoms with no other diagnosis or presumptive/positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

  • Immediately notify your supervisor of family member illness or diagnosis. 
  • If you are not vaccinated, you should stay home and monitor your health for COVID-19 symptoms while caring for the person who is sick. You should also continue to stay home after care is complete. Unvaccinated caregivers can leave their home 14 days after their last close contact with the person who is sick (based on the time it takes to develop illness), or 14 days after the person who is sick meets the criteria to end home isolation. Vaccinated caregivers can report to work unless they begin exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath but other symptoms may be present as well. Trouble breathing is a more serious warning sign that you need medical attention.
  • Use CDC’s self-checker tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.
  • You may be eligible for leave under PWCS-EPSL or PWCS regulations, contact Office of Benefits at benefits@pwcs.edu or 703.791.8568 for additional information.

I received an email stating there was a presumptive/positive case at my work location/school and am scheduled to report tomorrow. Should I go to work?

Out of an abundance of caution, when PWCS receives notice that an employee or student (that have been onsite at a PWCS facility the last 14 days) is presumptive or positive for COVID-19, the appropriate school community is notified. Additional notifications will be made to those individuals on the “close contact” list of the infected person. For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the infected person was isolated.  Please note that there is a K-12 Close Contact exception that applies to student to student exposure.  In those cases, students in an indoor classroom setting who are at least 3 feet apart and both wearing masks, the students would not be considered close contacts.  Individual staff members who may be at risk because of a staff member who tested positive will be notified and provided additional instructions. If you are not contacted directly and notified that you were on the “close contact” list of the infected employee, you should report to work as scheduled.

Employee Duties, Assignments, Schedules and Telework

Will teachers continue to have a duty-free lunch?

Although it’s not required by Virginia Code, PWCS will continue to make every effort to ensure that teachers have a duty-free lunch period whenever possible.

 

What if there are not enough substitute teachers to accommodate absences?

The Division is continuing to experience a shortage of substitute teachers. Coverage may involve shifting staff members (such as teacher assistants) to meet students' needs or having other teachers cover in emergency situations.

Will I be required to teach virtually if my entire class is quarantined?

There may be times when your entire class is quarantined. In the event that occurs, the model will switch to virtual instruction.

 

Will I be required to report on-site if I’m teaching virtually because my entire class is quarantined?

Yes, all teachers are required to report on-site to work, unless they are quarantined or in isolation.

 

If I am quarantined, can I telework?

Employees will be required to use leave (EPSL if eligible, personal, sick, and annual) for quarantine. If an employee is quarantined, in very limited circumstances, the administrator or supervisor may request to the Office of Benefits the employee be allowed to work virtually. If the employee is approved for telework, the employee's leave balances would be adjusted accordingly.

 

Employee Vaccination FAQs

Q. Do I have to get a vaccine?
A. Vaccination is currently an employee’s choice, there is no requirement for vaccination. Although the decision to be vaccinated is a voluntary one at this time, an employee’s decision to remain unvaccinated will not be considered an impediment to reporting onsite as needed to support our in-person learning
 
Q. Why do I need the COVID-19 vaccine? (Source: Prince William Health District)
A. The COVID-19 vaccine will greatly reduce your chances of getting COVID-19 and will ensure that if you do get the virus, you will have only mild symptoms or none at all.
We don’t know yet why some healthy people become seriously ill or die from COVID-19, while other people with COVID-19 only become mildly sick. There’s no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. Once vaccinated, your body will build immunity to the virus so you are less likely to get sick.
Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

 

Q. If someone already had COVID-19, do they still need to be vaccinated? (Source: Prince William Health District)
A. Yes, regardless of history (symptomatic or asymptomatic), they should get the vaccine.  In the clinical trial, there were patients with serologic evidence of previous infection.   Patients should be out of the isolation period and out of the active stage of infection when they get vaccinated.
The one exception for vaccination might be for those people who had COVID-19 earlier but who have not recovered completely and are still having long-term effects. If you are still having long-term effects after COVID-19, you should discuss COVID-19 vaccination with your healthcare provider.
While there is otherwise no recommended minimum interval between infection and vaccination, current evidence suggests that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Thus, persons with documented COVID-19 in the preceding 90 days may delay vaccination until near the end of this period, if desired.
Q. Where can I get more information about the vaccines?
A. Visit the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control

 

Notification Requirements

If you experience any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should immediately leave work (if applicable), notify your supervisor and the Office of Benefits (Benefits@pwcs.edu or 703-791-8050) and seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider.