Employee Information

The Human Resources Department has developed these FAQs to assist employees during the 2022-23 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 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.

Updated: August 15, 2022

COVID-19 Staff Protocols

Are employees required to wear face coverings in the workplace?

Generally, no.

Employees returning to work following isolation may be required to wear a mask. View the Health/Mitigation FAQs to learn more.

In addition, masks are required by federal rules for students and adults in Head Start Pre-K classrooms.

As a staff member, when will I have to isolate and for how long?
View the Health/Mitigation FAQs to learn more.
When can individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 discontinue home isolation?
The VDH has released Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention for Students, Teachers and Staff in Child Care, K-12 Schools, and Day Camp Settings. Refer to the VDH guidance to determine when those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to work or school.
If I am required to isolate, will I have to use my accumulated leave to receive pay during that time?
Yes, you will be required to use any accumulated leave (sick, annual, personal) as you would for any other illness. Work the person in your building or at your work site who is responsible for recording time and leave to request appropriate leave.
If I have underlying health conditions that prevent me from being in a room with unmasked students, what options do I have?
Should you have an underlying health condition that doesn’t allow you to be in a classroom with unmasked students, please refer to the Other Benefits-Related Questions FAQs to learn more about how to navigate the support process and other assistance that may be available to you. If you have additional questions or concerns, you may contact the Benefits and Compensation Department at benefits@pwcs.edu.
If I have underlying health conditions that prevent me from being in a room with unmasked students, will I be able to teach virtually?
Since PWCS is servicing almost all students in-person and those who are virtual are primarily taught by third parties (Proximity Learning and Virtual Virginia), virtual teaching opportunities are nearly nonexistent. However, other mitigation strategies are available. If you have additional questions or concerns, you may contact the Benefits and Compensation Department.
What if I have a safety concern at work?

If you note a concern within your building, you are encouraged to speak with your administrator. If you are uncomfortable speaking with your administrator, you can email HealthAndSafety@pwcs.edu. All concerns are taken seriously and will be followed-up to ensure the safety of all.

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 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:

  • 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 can be obtained by emailing benefits@pwcs.edu.
  • Submit your completed COVID-19 Disability Accommodation Request Form to the Benefits and Compensation Department.
  • The Benefits and Compensation Department 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.
  • You will be scheduled for an interactive process meeting with your administrator and an administrator from the Benefits and Compensation Department.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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.

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.

Employee Wellness

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 following information 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.

The Human Resources, Benefits and Compensation, and Student Services Departments are working together to follow the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to 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. PWCS wants to be certain our employees are provided with the best possible support and services. ComPsych Guidance Resources, the PWCS Employee Assistance Program partner, provides work/life balance services for our employees and their immediate family members.

We all need a support network from time to time. Your ComPsych Guidance Resources EAP program can help find resources. 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.

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

  • Psychological, anxiety related & partner/relationship issues;
  • Divorce/separation, family & civil law;
  • Income tax issues, hardship call & general financial;
  • Government services: financial assistance, moving: apartment hunting & child Care/nanny sourcing.

Call ComPsych today for confidential help.
Call 1-844-880-6915 TDD: 1-800-697-0353

TeleHealth

Employees may wish to use telehealth when possible to help prevent the spread of infection and improve access to care, or to seek physician guidance when an in-person visit is not possible.

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.

Kaiser Permanente through its website, KP.org, 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.

COVID-19 Notification Requirements

As an employee, what are the notifications procedures if I test positive for 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 health care provider. Once you make the official notification your supervisor will send you an email with next steps that include completing a staff surveillance form.
What are the notifications procedures if I am a substitute or temporary employee and test positive for COVID-19?
If you receive a positive diagnosis for COVID-19, you should immediately leave work (if applicable), notify your supervisor on-site, notify the Substitute and Temporary Employment Department at HRSub@pwcs.edu or 703-791-7897, and seek medical guidance from a health care provider. Your on-site supervisor will send you an email with next steps that include completing a staff surveillance form.

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.

If I am isolated due to a positive diagnosis for COVID-19, can I telework?

Symptomatic employees will be required to use leave (personal, sick, and/or annual) for isolation due to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. Telework is not a substitute for leave. In very limited circumstances, if the COVID-19-positive employee is asymptomatic, the administrator or supervisor may request to the Benefits and Compensation Department that the employee be allowed to work virtually due to demands and workload of the employee. This request must also be approved by the appropriate appropriate chief/associate superintendent. If the employee is approved for telework, the employee's leave balances would be adjusted accordingly.

Home Test Kits for Employees

Who is eligible to receive a home test for COVID-19?
PWCS is collaborating with the Virginia Department of Health to provide free rapid antigen testing. PWCS will be provided with a limited number of home tests for COVID-19 from the Virginia Department of Health. Because of the limited availability of the tests, distribution will be prioritized for employees with unexplained illness with COVID-19-like symptoms.
What is the home test that is available?
The home test is an antigen test that uses a nasal swab for sample collection and can return test results in about 15 minutes. The test kits given to PWCS have been authorized by the FDA.
Do I have to take the home test if I am exposed to a known case of COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms?
No, these tests are not mandated by PWCS.
What do I do if my home test is positive?
If a test is positive, the individual should:
  • Remain at home. Persons testing positive should be referred to their health care provider for appropriate follow-up care.
  • Follow PWCS guidance on reporting positive COVID test.
  • Monitor symptoms.
  • Answer the call from the local health department or VDH Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team to identify possible close contacts and help prevent further transmission.
  • Follow the isolation guidelines on the Health/Mitigation FAQ webpage.
I am vaccinated, do I need to be tested if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
Regardless of vaccination status, employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested. Additionally, people who are fully vaccinated who are exposed to a person that is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, while not required to quarantine, should consult with their medical provider to get tested five days after exposure.
Who is paying for the Home Test kits?
Because PWCS is participating in the Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) program, there will be no costs associated with these diagnostic tests.

 

Notification Requirements

Employees who have a positive test result for COVID-19 or diagnosis from a health care provider should notify their supervisor and complete the staff surveillance form. 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 health care provider.