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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Considerations

Good evening,

The Leadership Team for Bristol Virginia Public Schools has been discussing potential issues that our School Division could encounter as a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) for some time. We have been in discussions, meetings, and/or conference calls with other School Divisions, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education, and other experts.

Even though we have no reason to believe any student or staff has contracted the Coronavirus, we have been discussing how we might continue to provide instruction and meals in case there is an outbreak in our area that would necessitate that BVPS close for an extended period of time. Out of an abundance of caution, we are beginning the initial steps to prepare for such an occurrence. Let me reiterate that we have no reason to believe that a student or staff member has contracted the Coronavirus, we are simply preparing for a potential outbreak.

In order to begin preparing for a potential extended closure, we plan to take the following actions:

On Monday, March 16 we will provide training to a select group of teachers, in a train-the-trainer model, for offering instructional content remotely. The remote instruction would only be offered in a situation where BVPS closed for an extended period of time.

On Wednesday March 18, we will close schools for students so the aforementioned teacher leaders can train/refresh their peers on methods of remote delivery of instruction. This day will also be used for teachers to adjust current instructional materials and plan for potential remote delivery. We will also use this time for deep cleaning. Most employees will work on this day unless directed otherwise by their immediate supervisor.

On Thursday March 19, students will return to school to a Digital Learning Day. This will include training on receiving instruction online and through other methods.

On Friday March 20, we will return to business as usual.

Although we know that remote instruction is not ideal and will have many obstacles, we hope that by planning and preparing thoroughly, we will recognize many of those challenges in advance. We will make adjustments to this plan as necessary. Our main goal will be to provide continued instruction, in an equitable manner, so that students maintain current levels and continue to progress. Some considerations that are being discussed currently include:
  • Sending laptops home with students in Grades 3-5
  • Providing alternative learning materials for students in PreK-2nd
  • Planning to meet goals and objectives for students with IEPs
  • Delivering instructional materials to students without internet access (neighborhood and/or personal hot spots, thumb drives, printed materials etc.)
  • Ensuring that families with food insecurities have access to meals
    The list goes on and on
Obviously, this is a very brief overview what might occur if circumstances require that we close school for an extended period of time. If we are unable to provide remote instruction in an equitable manner should an extended school closure be required, we would potentially have to extend the school year. Please know that we would never make a decision to close school for an extended period of time without consulting health experts in our area.

Our prayer is that we are doing a lot of unnecessary planning. However, we would prefer to have a plan and not need it as opposed to needing a plan and not having it. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

Thank you,

Keith Perrigan, Ed.D.
Bristol Virginia Public Schools
220 Lee St.
Bristol, VA 24201