PGCPS allows 737 students to return for in-person learning in second semester

By Zach Armstrong

PRINCE GEORGE, Va -- For the second semester of the 2020-2021 academic school year, Prince George County Public Schools has allowed a total of 737 students to return for in-person learning including 376 from the elementary level and 361 secondary students. The data was presented at the March 1 regular Prince George School Board meeting. 

At the secondary level, Prince George welcomed back 35 6th grade students, 42 7th grade students, 76 8th grade students, 62 9th grade students, 63 10th grade students, 53 11th grade students and 30 12th grade students.

For elementary schools, Harrison welcomed 87 students, Beazely welcomed back 41 students, North welcomed back 120 students, South welcomed back 81 students and Walton welcomed back 41.

In-person enrollment for secondary students out of total enrollment is 50.6%. In 6th grade, 57.2% of students are in-person, 50.2% of 7th grade is in-person, 53.2% of 8th grade is in-person, 47.4% of 9th grade is in-person, 49.8% of 10th grade is in-person, 48.7% of 11th grade is in-person and 46.8% of 12th grade is in-person.

In-person enrollment for elementary students out of total enrollment is substantially higher at 66%. Harrison is at 68% in-person enrollment, Beazely is at 61% in-person enrollment, North is at 66% in-person enrollment, South is at 71% enrollment and Walton is at 64% in-person enrollment.

According to PGCPS, mitigation strategies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools include: face coverings being required for everyone when inside schools and support buildings, physical distancing, encouraging frequent hand washing/hand sanitizer use, regular cleaning of high-touch and other surfaces, and detailed contract tracing when someone tests positive for COVID-19 to ensure those potentially exposed are quarantined out of an abundance of caution.

In an emailed response from Prince George Superintendent Lisa Pennycuff, she said “, Prince George County Public Schools believes families should make the instructional selection for their children that best supports their individual family's circumstances.  Before the start of both the first and second semesters, we provided our families with the choice of in-person instruction (four days in-person, one day of virtual instruction) and 100% virtual instruction. Now one month into the second semester, over 3,500 students are safely learning on-campus at our schools, and over 2,500 students are continuing to receive high-quality instruction virtually,”

It was also presented to the school board that 97% of Kindergarten students made progress on the PALS assessment with overall PALS scores increasing by 61%. Over half of First grade students (52%) are reported to be reading on or above grade level.