It has been a little while since I provided an update for Bristol Virginia Public Schools in regards to COVID-19. Over the last few weeks, it has been amazing to watch our school community come together to make the best of a bad situation. Our response has certainly not been perfect, but I couldn't be prouder of the resiliency and team work that I have witnessed from our staff, parents, and students. Kudos to each of you for a job well done!
End of School
New instruction should be wrapping up this week. Next week will be set aside to provide recognition opportunities for students. Principals are working with their teachers to create End of Year Awards videos that will be shared with families. Once the videos have been created, more information will be shared so everyone can have access to them. Plans are to have these videos created by the end of the school year, May 22nd.
Return to School
We are currently unsure about what the beginning of next school year would look like. The Virginia Department of Education is considering multiple approaches that range from a normal opening to a completely remote opening. I believe that we will probably experience something in between those two possibilities. Regardless, we look forward to interacting with our students as soon as safety protocols allow. We will communicate important information to you as decisions are made. Currently, we have created a local committee who are making plans to ensure that we are ready to address the needs of our students when we return.
Summer Meals Program
Starting the week of May 25th, the Bristol Virginia Public Schools will deliver meals on WEDNESDAY’S ONLY . Five days worth of meals will be provided to each child to ensure they have breakfast and lunch through the following Wednesday.
Additionally, drive by sites for meal pick up will be available on Wednesday’s only from noon to 1:00 at Stonewall Jackson Elementary and Van Pelt Elementary. If these changes negatively affect your ability to provide meals for your child, please let me know.
Summer Learning Opportunities
We are going to try to offer some limited learning opportunities this summer if State guidelines allow. Class sizes would be limited to 9 students, temperature checks would be conducted, and social distancing guidelines would be followed. Be looking for a survey, in the near future, that will gauge parent interest in this offering.
We have been informed by the Virginia Secretary of Education that traditional graduations cannot be held in Virginia until at least mid-August. Our team has been preparing for such an unfortunate decision since our school buildings were closed in March. We are waiting on our partner to provide a date and are finalizing plans as we speak. We hope to provide one of the most unique and amazing graduation experiences imaginable. Thank you so much for your patience.
At Washington-Lee Elementary School we are finalizing the repairs from the sink hole that formed earlier this spring. This has been a slow process due to wet weather. However we have completed the pipe repairs and added new gutter drains. The hole has been back filled and the grass will be sown soon.
A Geo-Tech will be doing core drilling samples around the front and back side of the lower level. This will tell us if further work will be need to be completed around the foundation. Crack Monitors have been placed in certain areas that will detect any changes in the structure such as movement or lowering. Core drilling should be completed this week, and the monitors will be in place up to six more weeks. It is our hope that after the core drilling is complete, the building may resume normal operations.
Our pool project is moving forward with estimates being obtained for surface repairs and roof replacement. Our Geo-Tech is also studying the building blueprints for possible core drill spots in the pool. This will help us determine if the sub soil conditions have changed due to the recent, significant loss of the pool water. Once all of the issues have been worked out, we hope to start with finalizing the repairs. This may mean the pool will remain closed through the Summer.
As I shared last week, we have had to make significant adjustments to our 2020-21 Budget. There are still some revenue items that cause me great concern. As the State has provided revenue projections, they have not made adjustments for Sales Tax or Lottery Sales declines. We are setting aside a large portion of our CARES Act funding to offset any further decreases that we may receive. Additionally, I am working with our CFO to develop policies and procedures to reduce spending and plan for the worst. The only thing that is evident is that next year we will need to work together, better than ever before, to ensure that our students have access to the best learning experience we can provide.
Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration
Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration for the 2020-21 school year is available on the BVPS website. Due to Covid 19, required documents may be submitted on an individual family basis by calling your child's school or 276-821-5646 for an appointment.
In closing, I want to thank each of you again for your patience, support, and understanding during this terrible crisis. I pray daily for our students and staff as they are the most impacted by the changes we are currently enduring. If there is anything at all that our staff can do to help you and your family, please do not hesitate to contact me personally.
Bristol Virginia Public Schools
220 Lee St.
Bristol, VA 24201