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Letter from Superintendent Dr. LaTanya McDade about pause at Bennett Elementary

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October 8, 2021

Dear PWCS Families, Employees and Community,

I am writing to inform you of the first temporary pause of in-person learning at a school in the Division due to COVID-19 this school year. Late this afternoon, the Prince William Health District recommended a one-week temporary pause at Bennett Elementary School due to 36 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, three probable positive cases all in isolation, and more than 200 close contacts in quarantine. I am sharing this information with the entire School Division in the spirit of transparency.

At this time, there are no other schools in the Division that are approaching the threshold that would require a temporary pause of in-person learning. There are indications that the cause of the spread of the COVID-19 virus at Bennett Elementary School may be linked to both transmission in the community and the school.

This is an intervention to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19 at Bennett Elementary. It is important to note that quarantine does not equate to illness, and while not all students at Bennett Elementary School are required to quarantine, this step is being taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff.

This decision was made under advisement by the Prince William Health District, based on the following considerations: number of cases experienced and their proximity in time to each other, the level of spread within the school, and the level of student absenteeism due to illness or necessary isolation or quarantine.

We will continue to collaborate with the Prince William Health District to monitor COVID-19 cases and implement additional mitigation strategies as needed for any school concerns that arise. We encourage all families to continue proper mitigation strategies in the community to prevent transmission. This includes wearing masks, handwashing, and vaccination for those who are eligible. At any time, if your child tests positive or exhibits symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please notify your child’s school and contact your health care provider. If you have questions or need additional information, contact healthandsafety@pwcs.edu.  

I appreciate your patience, cooperation, and support as we work together to keep our students and staff members safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

LaTanya D. McDade, Ed.D.  

Superintendent  

Prince William County Public Schools 

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