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Issue 79
Friday, August 20, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

It is that time of year. Back to School is upon us and the excitement in the air is palpable! 

This week, I was able to attend a wonderful Back to School event put on by our school system and it was filled with enthusiastic students and families. Children were thrilled to see one another again, teachers were excited to get the students back in the classroom, and parents enjoyed the day with free food, entertainment, and back to school supplies. 

A strong school system is the backbone of our community and it was certainly evident at this event. I had great conversations that presented many different perspectives and came away with a renewed sense of hope for the immediate future. I spoke to teachers, principals, school board members and Chair Babur Lateef, as well as our new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. McDade. I also spoke with PWCS HR & Recruitment Coordinator Pam Mahone, who was working at a bus driver information table, about their recruitment efforts (see article below),

All those conversations assured me that our school district persevered through the last year by coming together. I am confident they will draw upon this same strength to face any obstacles during this new school year. 

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
School News
A New School Year
PWCS 2021-2022 school year starts Monday, August 23. While everyone is probably all set to go, here are some great resources review and ensure your student is set up for a successful year:
Don't Miss the Bus
The PWCS 21-22 school year starts Monday, August 23! To be sure your student gets there, use the Here Comes the Busmobile app to:
  • See real-time map locations for your student's buses
  • Get push-notifications when the bus gets close by
Select "Bus Info" on your PWCS Mobile App or search for Here Comes the Bus™ in your app store. Once the app is downloaded, if needed, enter school code 76348, complete the "User Profile", and select "Add" under "My Students." You can learn more here.
PWCS is Hiring
PWCS is looking for bus drivers! Not only could you have the same schedule as your child/grandchild, as a driver you'll receive:
  • Competitive pay of $21.34/hour and paid training.
  • Health insurance, Virginia Retirement System, and paid sick & personal days.
  • 182 day work schedule, split shift of am/pm routes, and an average route of 4-6 hours a day.
  • Summers and holidays off.

Still not sure you have what it takes? Check out the video below to see a couple of familiar faces behind the wheel. If they can do it you can!
Immunization Clinic
The Prince William Health District (PWHD) is hosting a Back to School vaccination clinic on Tuesday, August 24 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. PWCS immunization requirements can be found here.

Children may also be vaccinated at the Manassas or Woodbridge clinics of the PWHD or other medical professionals. Vaccinations required for entrance into school are free at the Health District clinics. Please call the health clinic for times and schedules.
Manassas Clinic
9301 Lee Avenue
Manassas, VA 20110
Woodbridge Clinic
4001 Prince William Parkway, Suite 101
Woodbridge, VA 22192
If you think you may have COVID-19, ways you can be tested include:
For the Uninsured or Underinsured

The George Mason University MAP Clinic at 99 Tremont St in Manassas Park, phone 703-993-5880, offers free COVID-19 testing for uninsured and underinsured individuals from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are accepted. Also, Mega-Lab Health Care offers free testing for uninured individuals.
Last week, the FDA and CDC recommended people with moderately and severely weakened immune systems (immunocompromised) receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The Virginia Department of Health, which oversees the Prince William Health District (PWHD), has adopted this position. Starting Saturday, August 14, the PWHD and other vaccine providers across Virginia began offering third doses of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to people who are immunocompromised.
Important Details in the Recommendation

The third dose should be:
  • Administered at least four weeks after the second dose.
  • The same brand of mRNA vaccine as the first and second dose vaccines the person received.

Immunocompromised people include those who have:
  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection.
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

The CDC further additional advised people should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
What are mRNA vaccines?
Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA (messager RNA) vaccines. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein, or piece of a protein, that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. The Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine is not an mRNA vaccine. Therefore, this recommendation does not apply to anyone who has received the J&J vaccine.

What about a booster for the J&J vaccine?
On Wednesday, August 18, a joint statement from public health and medical experts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services included the following: “We also anticipate booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. Administration of the J&J vaccine did not begin in the U.S. until March 2021, and we expect more data on J&J in the next few weeks. With those data in hand, we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots as well."
On Monday, August 16, in an updated statement from the CDC noted, that while the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Furthermore, it stated the recommendation people 12 years and older receive the COVID-19 vaccination, includes people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
For those who would like to speak to someone about the COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, the CDC advises talking with your healthcare professional and/or contacting the non-profit, MotherToBaby. In addition to its COVID-19 Fact Sheet, MotherToBaby has Ask an Expert, a free and confidential service available in English and Spanish. Contact Ask an Expert by calling 866-626-6847, texting 855-999-8525, chatting live, or submitting a form on their website.
Don't be Scammed
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning about scammers impersonating its Chair, Lina Khan, in a COVID-19 related phishing scheme. If you receive an email from the FTC saying it wants to send you Coronavirus relief funds, it is a scam. The FTC is not distributing Coronavirus economic stimulus or relief money to people. Do not reply, call or click on any links. Report the email (or text message or phone call) to and forward the email to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at
Get the Shot
The Prince William Health District offers COVID-19 vaccines at its Manassas and Woodbridge clinics Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Walk-ins are welcome. If you are looking for a specific vaccine type, call first to check on availability.
Manassas Clinic
9301 Lee Avenue
Manassas, VA 20110
Woodbridge Clinic
4001 Prince William Parkway, Suite 101
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Other Ways to Get Vaccinated Include

  • Visit PWHD's websiteFacebook page, or Twitter account for mobile clinic locations, dates, and times.
  • Visit to find COVID-19 vaccination by location.
  • Make a vaccine appointment by calling Virginia’s Call Center at 877-829-4682 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • Visit to schedule your vaccination appointment with the Prince William Health District.
  • Text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX).
  • Veterans contact NOVA Veterans Association at 703-659-0788, or by emailing, for free transportation to a COVID-19 vaccine location.
The Board is on summer recess through Labor Day.

The BOCS will reconvene after the recess on
Tuesday, September 7 at
2:00 pm and 7:30 pm.
County News
Addressing Traffic Congestion
A new $50 million OmniRide facility in PWC will help ease congestion along the I-66 corridor, allow for more efficient operations, and support economic growth. The Western Bus Maintenance and Storage Facility can store 100 buses, allowing OmniRide to increase the size of its fleet and expand bus service. This, along with the 4,000 park-and-ride spaces under construction along the corridor, will allow OmniRide to better meet the growing demand between I-495 and Route 29 in Gainesville. The new facility will also reduce deadheading, running without passengers between facilities.
Public Thoroughfare Project Meeting
PWC will host a public meeting on the Thoroughfare Community History Project (issue 70 and issue 65) Tuesday, August 31st at 6:00pm at the Haymarket–Gainesville Library, located at 14870 Lightner Road in Haymarket. County staff will focus on the project's goals and timeline, as well as answer any questions. More information on PWC’s efforts to preserve and protect the Thoroughfare Community in partnership with the Coalition To Save Historic Thoroughfare can be found here.
Wi-Fi has Left the Building
The PWC Public Libraries have expanded their Wi-Fi network. In addition to enjoying Wi-Fi while you are inside the building, you can now experience the same level of connectivity while in the parking lot of all Library branches! The service is free and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
County Kudos
Three First Responders Honored
Congratulations to PWC Department of Fire and Rescue volunteer firefighters Neasbco Supervisor Victor Angry, State Senator Jeremy McPike, and Navy veteran Serena Bermudez on receiving AMVETS First Responders Awards! The PWC residents earned three of the four awards issued! AMVETS, founded in 1944, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit veterans service organization, representing the interests of the more than 19 million American Veterans in the United States. The awards will be presented at its 76th National Convention, Friday, August 20.
Tourism Success Story
By all accounts, the USA BMX 2021 East Coast Nationals series (issue 78) last weekend at the Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge was a success. The event drew nearly 5,000 athletes and spectators from almost all 50 states! It contributed to hundreds of hotel room nights and consumer spending at PWC malls, attractions, restaurants, and more. The series was hosted by PWC in partnership with NOVA BMX. The PWC Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism had staff on-site throughout the weekend to help service the event. Check out the video below for a taste of the action from Day 1.
Local Favorite Nationally Recognized
The Pioneer Woman ranked Burnside Farms 2021 Summer of Sunflowers (issue 75) #20 in its 25 Best Sunflower Fields Across the U. S. Burnside's sunflower fields are expected to stay open until Labor Day or longer. Advance tickets can be purchased online and includes access to the huge Jump Pad, bubble stations, chalkboard message signs for photos, kids clubhouse play area, short film cinema, and a shaded picnic areaAges 11 and up are $14 and include 3 pick-your-own sunflowers. Ages 2 through 12 are $10 and include one flower. Additional flowers may be picked and purchased for $1.50 per stem.
Regional News
Help Shape the Future of Transportation
The next TransAction update is officially underway and depends on public input! Help shape the future of transportation by completing its online survey by September 17 on things like how you travel, what transportation issues are important to you, and what would improve your travel experience. TransAction is also hosting ‘pop-up’ events across the region with a focus on reaching individuals who may not find it easy to participate in the survey. Other ways to participate can be found here.
TransAction is Northern Virginia’s long-range multimodal transportation plan. Overseen by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, it serves as a roadmap for planning, programming, and funding safe, equitable, and sustainable transportation projects over a 20-year timeframe.
Important Acknowledgement
Woman's Equality Day
Every year since 1973, Presidents have proclaimed Thursday, August 26, as National Women's Equality Day in recognition of the day women won the right to vote! While the 19th Amendment, giving woman the right to vote (issue 27), was ratified on August 18 in 1920, the National Constitution Center states this day was selected because final government certification was seven days later on August 26. New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug introduced the resolution in 1971 and Congress officially approved it in 1973.
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.