Issue 22
Monday, July 20, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

This week we reached the four month mark since the March 16 State Of Emergency was declared for the county due to COVID-19. The Prince William County COVID-19 Dashboard (bottom of page) shows the human toll of the pandemic. As of July 17, we have had 10,013 cases, 881 hospitalizations, and sadly lost 187 lives.

While Virginia has moved into Phase Three of easing public health restrictions, we must remain vigilant. According to July 16 data on the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (updated every Thursday), out of 99 zip codes in Northern Virginia, 4 in our area are in the top 10 in terms of cases per 10,000 persons. (Manassas 20109, 20110, 20111 and Woodbridge 22191).

These areas show, as a county, we cannot relax. Zip codes are merely lines drawn on a map. People travel across them all the time. Please, everyone, continue to follow all recommendations for face coverings, social distancing and hand washing.

In this issue you will find a request for your input on an important county decision, several state and county COVID-19 updates, our Return to Learn plan , BOCS meeting information, a volunteer opportunity, an upcoming event, and a summer safety tip.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Your Input Requested
A New Chief Of Police
Prince William County has contracted with GovHR USA Consultants to assist with the recruitment of your next Chief of Police. We are seeking input from the community to assist with this important process and decision. Your response to the survey will assist in identifying key characteristics, skills, traits, and issues, to facilitate the review of applicants and select the best-qualified candidate for the position . Respond by July 23, 2020 .
State News
Special Session
Governor Ralph Northam is calling the General Assembly into special session on Tuesday, August 18 to adopt a budget based on the revised revenue forecast in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In April, over $2.2 billion in new spending was frozen to allow time for things to stabilize. Now they will consider a number of items put on hold including investment in early childhood education, tuition-free community college, affordable housing, and broadband.
Additionally, during this special session, the Governor will work closely with legislative leaders and advocates to propose additional criminal justice and policing reform . Policing initiatives are expected to include measures aimed at police accountability and oversight, use of force, increased training and education, officer recruitment, hiring, and decertification. 
More State Budget News
Virginia fiscal year 2020 ended with a deficit of approximately $236.5 million in general fund revenue collections. While the shortfall was expected due to the impacts of COVID-19, it's smaller than anticipated. While the growth in total revenues collected over the prior fiscal year increased 2.0%, the forecast had been for 3.1%.
Virginia Leads The Way
In the absence of federal guidelines, Governor Northam announced the adoption of statewide emergency workplace safety standards in response COVID-19. These safety rules mandate appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training, and hazard communications in workplaces across the Commonwealth.
Stepped Up Enforcement
Citing concerns about rising COVID-19 cases in areas of Virginia, Governor Northam announced this week he is:
  • Directing teams from health departments and licensing agencies to conduct unannounced visits to establishments where people gather in groups
  • Asking beach town mayors for an update on their follow through of May's beach access plans
  • Directing Virginia ABC to develop a plan to impose an earlier cutoff for alcohol sales at restaurants
County News
Tax Extension
To provide relief to county businesses and residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the BOCS voted Tuesday to defer payments for the first half of the real estate taxes due on July 15, 2020, until Oct. 13, 2020. If you have questions, please contact the Real Estate Assessments Office at 703-792-6780 or [email protected].
Additional Housing Assistance
The Virginia Cooperative Extension-Prince William received $75,000 in grant funding from Virginia Housing to support the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Financial Education, and Housing Counseling program. The grant helps the local office with COVID-19 emergency support funds, including additional staff to provide housing counseling.
More Relief Efforts
The BOCS recently  allocated $1 million  in CARES Act funding to support COVID-19 relief efforts for county residents, focusing on those who are underserved. The county is partnering with  The Human Services Alliance of Greater Prince William  to distribute these funds through  grants to non-profit organizations who serve county residents.
These grants are available through an application process for 501(c)3) nonprofit organizations serving county residents for COVID-19 relief related to housing assistance, utility assistance, access to health care appointments and medication, employment assistance, childcare costs and other critical unmet human needs. The deadline to submit the application is Friday, July 24, at 5 pm.
School Board Meeting
Plan Adopted
After receiving direct input from parents and teachers serving on planning committees, along with nearly 6,000 school-based staff and 17,000 parents/guardians via a survey, this week the School Board unanimously adopted a Return to Learn Plan Resolution .
Key Information:
  • 2020-21 school year first quarter, September 8 through October 30, will have a 100% distance learning model
  • Special Education students and other especially vulnerable student groups, as feasible, will receive some in-person services
  • The goal is to transition to a 50% capacity In-Person and Distance Learning Model for the second quarter, with the option for students to remain virtual
Board Of County Supervisors
Upcoming Meeting
The BOCS will meet  July 21 at
2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

For Public Comment Time options visit 
SpeakUp! Prince William.
Advance sign-up  is required by
5:00 pm on Monday, July 20.
A Few Items From The July 14 Meeting
  • First half of 2020 Real Estate Taxes were deferred (see COVID-19 news above)
  • Route 28 bypass extension recommendation vote was deferred to August 4 meeting
  • A resolution was passed rejecting the “defund the police movement” and pledging to continue to fund the Prince William County Police Department at appropriate levels 
An Opportunity To Volunteer
Saturday, July 25 the Potomac Community Library is joining with Keep Prince William Beautiful on a Community Cleanup event. The Library will serve as the check-in location, and the cleanup will focus on the surrounding public roads and spaces.

Check-ins will be at 10:00 am and 10:30 am to minimize contact with other volunteers and masks are required. Volunteers will be provided sanitized supplies including trash bags, gloves, safety vests, and litter pickers.
Annual Event
Mark Your Calendars
National Night Out (NNO) is Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 . This year residents are encouraged to lock their doors, turn on outdoor lights and spend the evening outside with their families and neighbors using appropriate social distancing. Neighborhood watch programs throughout the county will host motorcade stops where police officers and other law enforcement personnel can meet neighbors. COVID-19 restrictions will necessitate some changes from previous years, primarily not having the public enter police vehicles.
NNO, an annual community-building campaign promoting police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, traces its origins to a 70's watch program in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. In 1981, the National Association of Town Watch was founded followed by NNO in 1984. Now the event is celebrated in thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide.
Pet Safety
Our Four-Legged Friends
As temperatures continue to rise into the 90s, be aware asphalt can be significantly hotter than the air temperature. You may have shoes to protect your feet but your dog usually doesn't! Concrete sidewalks get hot too! The easiest way to test if it is safe for your dog is by placing your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it there for more than 5-10 seconds then its way too hot for your dog.
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.