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RETURN TO SCHOOL AND MASKING SURVEY

Good afternoon,

 

Bristol Virginia Public Schools has been busy planning our return to school this fall. Our hope is to open as normally as possible. With the Governor’s announcement this week, we have more clarity on what is required and what is recommended to ensure a safe opening of the 2021-22 school year. We intend to follow the same approach this year that helped us offer in-person learning in a safe, efficient, and effective way last year. By balancing risk, we hope that we can create an environment that is safer and more conducive to deep and personalized learning. We hope to do this as normally as we can, while maintaining a safe environment. As we finalize our reopening recommendation to present to our School Board, most decisions have been made regarding the mitigations we will implement to open school safely. Here is a list of mitigations that will definitely be recommended as a part of our reopening plan:

 

● Promoting, but not requiring, vaccination

● Planning for physical distancing

● Providing opportunities for rapid testing 

● Providing and maintaining improved ventilation 

● Encouraging handwashing and respiratory etiquette

● Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities

● Encouraging staff/students to stay home when sick 

● Cooperating with contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine recommendations.

 

The final mitigation that we are considering is how to handle masking. Masks are currently required on public transportation, so all students who ride the bus will be required to wear a mask during that time. Additionally, the Virginia Department of Health recommends that all elementary students/staff wear a mask at school. VDH also recommends that unvaccinated students/staff in middle and high schools wear a mask while at school. However, VDH does not require masking in these settings.

A final decision has not been made on masking at school and we would love to add your input to our decision-making process. I hope you will take a couple of minutes to complete the survey linked below. Please keep the following facts in mind as you complete the survey.

 

1. Vaccinated students/staff who are exposed to an infected person will not be quarantined by VDH.

2. Unvaccinated students/staff who are wearing a mask will be LESS likely to be quarantined by VDH if exposed to an infected person. Unvaccinated students/staff who are NOT wearing a mask will be quarantined if there is a close contact with an infected person.

3. School personnel have no ability to overrule a quarantine decision.

4. Students will not have the flexibility to move back and forth between remote and in-person learning. Virtual learning will be provided by outside organizations that we have partnered with as part of the Region 7 Virtual Academy.

5. Virtual learning will only be available to students who were academically successful last year.

 

Masking Survey

 

Please keep in mind that whatever decision is made about masks and other mitigations, the impact of COVID-19 on our schools and community could cause us to make changes throughout the year. It will take a tremendous amount of trust, faith, and cooperation for BVPS and our families to have another successful year. Please see the attached document for a description of the tiered approach we will follow as we strive to balance all the risks associated with teaching and learning during a pandemic. (Keep in mind that we have omitted masking options during the school day in this document as we work to finalize our recommendation.)

 

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at kperrigan@bvps.org

Sincerely,

 

Keith Perrigan

Superintendent 

Bristol Virginia Public Schools

220 Lee St.

Bristol, VA 24201

(276) 821-5600

@BristolSuper

Attached Files