Issue 25
Friday, August 7, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

As shared in Issue 25, Tuesday, August 4 was the last BOCS meeting until Tuesday, September 8. During the board's August recess, I will continue sending out The Wheeler Report to ensure you are kept up to date on news and events. I also will be sharing in August, as mentioned in Issue 21, the exciting new ways I will be connecting with you.

I have an update from the last few issues where I shared our Department of Transportation brought a recommendation for a Route 28 Bypass location before the board. After presentations from the department at two meetings and hearing from citizens, the board voted against the recommendation and in favor of widening Route 28 instead.

In this Issue you will find more exciting Virginia firsts, county COVID information, dates for upcoming Community Conversations, state school announcement, U. S. Census update, transportation news, annual event happening this weekend, an significant county recognition, and a rescheduling announcement.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
State News
Rapid Testing
Governor Ralph Northam announced a cutting-edge interstate compact to expand the use of rapid antigen testing in the Commonwealth. Governor Northam and the governors from Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio have entered into this bipartisan agreement with the Rockefeller Foundation. This is the first interstate testing compact of its kind among governors during the pandemic. With this announcement, the six states will be entering formal discussions to purchase 500,000 rapid antigen tests per state. 
You Can Help
Governor Ralph Northam announced the launch of COVIDWISE. An innovative exposure notification app which alerts users if they have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Virginia is the first state in the country to design a COVID-19 app using Bluetooth Low Energy technology developed by Apple and Google, which does not rely on personal information or location data. Users opt-in to download and utilize the free app.
Want to better understand how contact tracing apps work before you opt-in? Watch this short video to learn more.
County News
School News
As outlined in Issue 22, under PWC Schools' Return To Learn Plan the first quarter for the 2020-2021 academic will be virtual. However, it will be different than this past spring's virtual experience, which did not provide new content. PWCS has acquired Canvas, a division-wide platform for virtual instruction and learning. This platform will enable the schools to provide specific lessons tied to standards of learning.
Pledge Update
Issue 16 featured an article on the #PrinceWilliamStrong Pledge which encourages county businesses to commit and adhere to guidelines, mandatory requirements, and best practices to ease the spread of COVID-19. We are pleased to report since its formation in June, over 100 businesses and organizations have voluntarily taken the pledge.
More Help For Businesses
The Department of Economic Development is excited to announce two new programs designed to help Prince William County businesses adapt to the challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic. Monday, August 10, the application process will open for the Capital Investment and Innovation Grant and the Construction and Renovation Permit Rebate programs. 
An Important Detail
Are You Doing It Correctly
CDC guidelines on how to remove your mask:
  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties
  • Fold outside corners together
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing
If your face covering is reusable, be sure to wash it properly.
Board Of County Supervisors
Be Part Of The Process
As shared in Issue 24, along with the citizen survey, community conversations are a vital component in the county's 2021-2024 Strategic Planning process. In addition to attending your magisterial district Supervisor's session, you are encouraged to attend one of the two virtual sessions below Chair Wheeler is hosting. Dial-in information for them will be shared in the near future.
We Want To Hear From You
The county is in the process of recruiting for our next Planning Director. The Director plays an important role by supporting the BOCS and Planning Commission in shaping the future of the community. The BOCS would like input from the community to understand your opinions on current Planning Department operations, as well as your hopes for its future. The survey should take no more than five to ten minutes to complete.
State Announcement
Superintendent of Public Instruction, James Lane, has waived the annual school accreditation for the 2021-2022 academic year. Schools will be assigned a rating of “Accreditation Waived,” the same rating assigned for 2020-2021 in April. Ratings are based on performance during the previous school year. The closure of schools in March due to the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of spring Standards of Learning testing.
“Waiving annual accreditation for a second year will allow our schools to focus on assessing the impact of the shut down on students, academically and on their social and emotional well-being.”
Dr. James F. Lane, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction
We Need Your Help
The window for completing the census is getting smaller. The Census Bureau has announced the door-knocking and ability for households to respond online, by phone or by mail will stop at the end of September. As outlined in Issue 6, the results of the 2020 Census will help determine federal funding for essential services that flow into our county for the next ten years. Currently we are only at a 72% response rate. Please remind everyone you come in contact with to complete the Census.
Transportation News
Important Road Information
Issue 12 provided details on how our roads are funded and Issue 21 shared Dumfries was allocated $78 million to complete the widening of Route 1 as part of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) adoption of their FY 2020-2025 Six Year Program. Two additional county road projects receiving funding from NVTA are:
  • $24 million to fully fund the extension of Summit School Road
  • $8 million for North Woodbridge mobility improvements
Provide Your Feedback
The Department of Transportation is inviting the public to watch two virtual presentations for public information and comment on:
  • The extension and construction of a section of Summit School Road and improvement of Telegraph Road
  • The Route 234-Brentsville Road Interchange

Use the links below to view the virtual presentations and provide feedback.
This Weekend
Annual Event
Starting at 12:01 am Friday, August 7, Virginians once again can take advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday. Through 11:59 pm Sunday, August 9, you can save up to 7% on qualified in-store and on-line purchases. Watch the video and visit the state web site to learn more about which purchases qualify and certain limitations.
The County Is Recognized
And The Award Goes To
The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) has recognized PWC with a Best Achievement Award for the Human Rights Student Leadership Council. The county was awarded this top honor out of 76 submissions. The Prince William Human Rights Commission launched the Council, designed for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, in 2016 to:
  • Engage students in community leadership development opportunities
  • Participate in dialogues on diversity
  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of the cultural differences of others 
Mark Your Calendar
Due to Tropical Storm Isaias, National Night Out has be rescheduled to Tuesday October 6.
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.