Issue 57
Friday, March 19, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

This week we were reminded that violence against Asian Americans has risen significantly since the start of the pandemic. While this alarming trend has been mentioned, it has predominantly taken a backseat to the vast amount of news on COVID-19, the economic impact of the pandemic, and vaccinations.

Sadly, this tragedy is a reminder that we must keep it in the forefront. Racism and hate crimes must not be tolerated. Unfortunately, it can't be eradicated with a vaccine. It is up to each of us to ensure the issue remains in the forefront, another symptom of COVID-19, and do all we can to end its existence.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Change in Vaccination Centers Increases Number of Vaccines for PWC
During the week of March 22, the Prince William Health District (PWHD) vaccination center located at the former Gander Mountain retail store in Woodbridge (issue 55), will expand its services to become a state-run Community Vaccination Center (CVC). The CVC will have the capacity to administer 3,000 vaccinations a day with the potential to increase to 6,000 per day as additional doses become available. The CVC, located near the Potomac Mills Mall, will operate Tuesday through Saturday.
This CVC will have a big impact on the vaccination process in PWC:
  • The Vaccination Center is located in the area of our County that has experienced the highest COVID-19 positivity rates and where a higher percentage of individuals of color have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.   
  • The vaccine doses come from the state and are in addition to the ones currently allocated to the PWHD. This vaccine supplement will enable the PWHD to increase vaccination capacity at the Manassas Mall location and work to establish “mobile” vaccination events in the health district.
What You Need to Do

If you haven't yet, pre-register for the vaccine online or by calling the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-829-4682 (1-877-VAX-IN-VA).

When it is your turn to be vaccinated, you will be contacted to make an appointment .

Vaccinations will be by appointment only, no walk-ins will be accepted.
Federal Retail Pharmacy Program Expanding
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has announced that the Federal Retail Pharmacy partners (issue 54) will expand within Phase 1b to offer vaccines to individuals who are 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions. The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program receives vaccines directly from the federal government, so these doses are in addition to those allocated to the state.
Individuals who are interested in getting vaccinated at a local pharmacy may visit Select "Find Vaccines" from the top menu and enter a zip code to locate participating pharmacy locations, hours, phone numbers, and scheduling links where available.

Please note, some of the pharmacies are scheduling appointments using the state-wide pre-registry. However, some do allow you to schedule your appointment with them. Appointments are added as locations receive more doses, so continue checking for availability. In this federal program, you can go to any location in Virginia.
Some FAQ's
I'm over 65, how do the expanded frontline essential worker groups impact my place in line for the vaccine?
During Phase 1b, the Virginia Department of Health guidelines are for 50% of the vaccines go to frontline essential worker groups. The other 50% go to people 65 and older, placing them in a separate group with a separate vaccine supply. Therefore, those 65 and older are not impacted by the additional frontline essential worker groups.

Has the Prince William Health District expanded vaccinations to Phase 1c?
While a few select health districts in Virginia are moving to Phase 1c, at this time the Prince William Health District (PWHD) is not one of them.
Virginia COVID-19: One Year Later
On March 14, 2020, Virginia had its first COVID-19 death. A year later, Governor Ralph Northam had flags flown at half-staff to honor and remember all Virginians whose lives were lost to the pandemic. Sadly, on the same day, the state reported we had surpassed 10,000 deaths in Virginia connected to COVID. The 2-minute video below captures the year from March 14, 2020, to now.
Conversation with the Chair
As we close out Women's History Month, Chair Wheeler will speak with PWC's first BOCS Chair, Kathleen Seefeldt. It will be a great conversation, so be sure to mark your calendar. The event will be live-streamed on Chair Wheeler's Facebook page.
BOCS Upcoming Meetings
April Meeting Schedule
TuesdayApril 6
2:00 pm - Regular Meeting
7:30 pm - School Board Budget Presentation

TuesdayApril 13
2:00 pm - Regular Meeting
7:30 pm - Budget Public Hearings and
Budget Recap Presentation

TuesdayApril 20
7:30 pm - Budget Markup

TuesdayApril 27
7:30 pm - Budget Adopted
Land Use
Recently, several land use matters have been brought before the BOCS. Several of them have been in the news and on social media. There have been some incidents when my position has been misconstrued, distorted, or misstated.

At the BOCS meeting on Tuesday, March 16, one land use matter, a Small Area Plan at Independence Hill, was on the agenda. During the discussion, I shared some of my thoughts on land use in our County. I'm providing a video of those comments below so you can hear my thoughts on land use. Time was limited, so this was not meant to be all-encompassing. I will continue to share my position in the near future through various channels.
Equity News
The Racial and Social Justice Commission held its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 18. During the meeting they heard presentations on PWC's:

in addition, the County's Equity and Inclusion Officer Maria Burgos presented to the Commission and attendees, an equity and inclusion framework to utilize in addressing issues in the county and creating proactive dialogue around sensitive and difficult topics.

The Commission meets the third Thursday of every month. You can watch a live-stream of the meetings on their webpage.
Environmental News
Cleaning Up Our Environment
Micron Technologies Inc. has donated $300,000 to PWC. The BOCS has appropriated the funds for the Departments of Public Works to purchase a Bandalong. The floating trash collection device will pull trash and plastic pollution from Neasbco Creek as it floats downstream. The funding will cover the costs of equipment, site preparation, installation, permitting, and hiring a contractor for one year to remove large debris, such as tree trunks and large branches, along with floatable trash from the watershed. The remaining funds will be used to help address the problem of plastic trash pollution in other County streams and watersheds, especially empty plastic bottles that are unsightly, slow to degrade, and harmful to aquatic animals.
From left to right first row:
Zuzana Steen of Micron, Supervisor Margaret Franklin, Delbert Parks of Micron, Chair Ann Wheeler, Marc Aveni of the Public Works Department, Tom Smith of the Public Works Department

From left to right second row: 
Seth Hendler-Voss of the Parks and Recreation Department, Tim Hughes, of the Public Works Department, Lazaro Gonzalez of Micron, Dave James of Micron.
Litter Control
PWC has annually received a $46,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for litter control. Through the county budget, it is passed to Keep Prince William Beautiful (KPWB). This year, the BOCS received an extra $6,040 from DEQ and appropriated the additional amount to KPWB. A non-profit community partner, KPWB helps with litter control efforts and meets DEQ requirements to administer the money.
There are many ways you can get involved and support KPWB, including their Adopt a Spot program.
Stormwater management
Through $21,660 in funding by the BOCS, which includes $10,830 in contributions from the PWC Schools, the PWC Department of Public Works is set to implement a water quality improvement project for the pond at Chinn Park, which will include runoff concerns from John D. Jenkins Elementary School.
Comprehensive Plan
As the County continues to update its Comprehensive Plan, Pathway to 2040 (issue 55), it is providing opportunities for residents to be involved. Next week the Planning Office will hold three online public meetings

Each meeting will focus on a specific part of the county, includes the same presentation and agenda, and be from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on:

  • Tuesday, March 23 focusing on the eastern part of the County
  • Wednesday, March 24 focusing on the central part of the County
  • Thursday, March 25 focusing on the western part of the County

The public is asked to attend the meeting for the geographic area in which they live or have the greatest interest.

Due to the interactive nature of these meetings, attendance for each meeting will be limited to 260 participants.

Click the link below to register for the session you want to attend. Registration closes at 5:00 pm on Monday, March 22.
County News
Transportation Updates
Congestion Relief - I-95 South

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), as part of the I-95 Corridor Improvement Plan, has awarded a $14.6 million contract to convert the existing shoulder from the end of the Route 123 entrance ramp onto southbound I-95 to the exit ramp for Prince William Parkway to a travel lane. About one and a half miles, this area averages 92,000 vehicles a day. The work will begin later this spring and occur within the existing right of way and mostly beyond concrete barriers, with few traffic impacts expected. The project will also provide a new paved shoulder, relocate noise walls as needed, replace impacted roadway lighting, install or upgrade guardrails, and build new retaining walls. Below is a video simulation of the finished project.
Commuter Needs - Neasbco and Potomac Districts

The PWC Department of Transportation is proposing the construction of a commuter parking garage with a 1,400 automobile capacity, along with bus transfer and "kiss-and-ride" facilities in the vicinity of the Neabsco Mills Road Widening Project. Submit comments on the project by March 30 as outlined in the announcement.
Road Improvement - Occoquan District

The PWC Department of Transportation will publish a virtual presentation on the $11.5 million project on improvements to several hundred feet of existing Old Bridge Road on their webpage at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 24. This is where you can also provide feedback on the project.
Investment Policy Acknowledgement
The Association of Public Treasurers of the United States & Canada (APT US&C) has recognized PWC with the Association's Investment Policy Certificate of Excellence Award. The certificate acknowledges the County's commitment to establishing a comprehensive investment policy. To receive the certification, the policy must be approved by all reviewers on the 17 areas. At the 2019 Annual Conference, only 10 organizations received the certificate (the 2020 conference was cancelled).
More Funding for a Great Program
At their Tuesday, March 16, meeting, the BOCS gave the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism approval for its Science in the Park Program to apply for grant funding. If the grant is awarded, the BOCS will allocate an additional $10,000 to the program. Since 2009, more than 39,000 PWCS students have participated in the program, and roughly 6,000 will during the 2021-2022 school year. These outdoor classrooms provide hands-on science lessons at several parks located throughout the county on topics such as water quality, watersheds, soil and water conservation, and natural resources. The grant is from the Fairfax Water Source Water Protection and Water Supply Education Grant.
A Great Source of Information
The February - March issue of Neighborhood News, includes great information from the County and several community partners. After you sign up, in the subscription menu, select Community Information and then Neighborhood News.

You can also stay up to date by signing up for PWC Alerts.
School News
PWCS Budget
The Prince William School Board approved the Proposed FY 2022 budget during its March 17 meeting. It includes a step increase and cost of living adjustment, which equate to an average five percent pay increase for eligible employees. Additionally, there will be no health care cost increase for the third consecutive year. More details on the budget can be found here.
Spring Graduations and Commencements
This week, Governor Ralph Northam released preliminary guidance for how K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, may safely hold in-person graduation and commencement events this spring. You will find a few key details below and can read all of the preliminary guidance for safely holding graduation and commencement events here.
A Few Key Details
  • Graduation events held outdoors will be capped at 5,000 people or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less.
  • Graduation events held indoors may have up to 500 people, or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less.
  • Attendees must wear masks and follow other guidelines and safety protocols to ensure proper distancing.
State News
Governor Ralph Northam signed into law 80 bills from Virginia's General Assembly Special Session I. Several have been listed below and you can read the full list here.
Bills Sponsored by Delegates who Represent a Portion of PWC

House Bill 2013, sponsored by PWC Delegate Danica Roem, prohibits school boards from suing families to collect debts on unpaid school meals.

House Bill 2175, sponsored by PWC Delegate Luke Torian, and Senate Bill 1327 strengthen protections for homeowners and tenants in manufactured home parks facing foreclosure.
Additional Bills

Senate Bill 1157 shifts all municipal elections from May to November, starting in 2022 (this impacts the Town of Dumfries, Haymarket, Occoquan, and Quantico).

House Bill 1896 and Senate Bill 1276 removes the prohibition on abortion coverage in any qualified health insurance plan offered through the Virginia state-based exchange.

House Bill 1940 and Senate Bill 1439 direct the Virginia Department of Education to establish guidelines that permit middle and high school students to attend a civic or political event and receive an excused absence.

House Bill 2123 and Senate Bill 1387 make any student eligible for state financial aid if they are eligible for in-state tuition, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. This law will take effect on August 1, 2022.

House Bill 2250 and Senate Bill 1379 prohibit the testing of cosmetics on animals and the selling of cosmetics that have been tested on animals beginning in 2022.
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.