Hi, I’m Ann Wheeler, Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

Our highest priority on the Board is protecting the health and ensuring the safety of every resident in Prince William County.
Over the past two weeks, I have worked closely with our local, state and federal elected officials as well as county staff on a strategic response to COVID-19 . Together, we are examining all options of what must be done to safeguard the health and well-being of our community.
On Tuesday, March 31 at 2 p.m., the Board of County Supervisors will meet for the first time since President Trump declared a national emergency – Governor Northam declared a state of emergency – and County Executive, Chris Martino, declared a local emergency.

You may be wondering why the Board is meeting at this time. It is because now, more than ever, Prince William County government must continue to serve and protect you. Governor Northam’s order does not limit the operation of government just for this reason.
To ensure our continued response to the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic, my colleagues and I will meet to consider and determine the rules and procedures that are necessary for the continuity of county government.
There will be no department presentations and no public hearing items including no land use items discussed on March 31st. The Board will consider five procedural matters, all while ensuring that social distancing is maintained and other health measures are implemented.

The procedural matters include:
  • The confirmation and approval of the March 16, Declaration of Local Emergency;
  •  The adoption of an Emergency Ordinance, which ensures the continuity of government; 
  • The adoption of a remote participation policy;
  • The elimination of physical, in-person public comment time – with the intent to restore it when it is safe to do so; and 
  • The rescheduling of the Prince William County School Board’s fiscal year 2021 budget presentation.
While the county’s Declaration of Local Emergency went into effect on March 16th, it has yet to be approved by the Board, which must happen for the declaration to be confirmed.

The Emergency Ordinance helps ensure that the Board has the greatest flexibility to continue to govern during our public health emergency.

The remote participation policy gives individual Board members the flexibility to participate in Board meetings remotely, when necessary, due to a medical condition, a personal matter or a declaration of state emergency.
The Board will also consider the elimination of in-person public comment out of concerns for the health and safety of all in attendance. Although not legally required, public comment time is important to the Board and community, and the intent is to restore it when it is safe to do so based on the guidance of federal and state health officials. 
Social distancing works, and we know that it will help slow down the spread of the virus. We definitely still want to hear from our citizens. Members of the public are encouraged to continue to engage with their Board members by phone or by submitting written comments via email, fax, or mail. The public can also comment on agenda items using the SpeakUp platform on the county’s website.

Lastly, after discussing the matter with the chair of the School Board, we will consider the rescheduling of the Prince William County School Board budget presentation for a later date.
As stated previously, this Tuesday’s meeting is dedicated to ensuring the continuity of government and our actions will reflect that. While your government is working to ensure procedures are in place to continue to provide essential services to our community in response to COVID-19, we are asking you to continue to heed the advice of public health professionals and stay home as much as possible, and maintain social distancing and other recommended precautionary measures to keep you and our community healthy.

Board meetings are broadcast live on our website a nd cable television channels (Verizon Channel 37, Comcast Channel 23) and we continue to welcome comments from the public. But we need your help in flattening the curve for the health and safety of all while we work together to protect our community.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these challenging times. We are stronger together.