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Current Masking Recommendation from the Superintendent

Bristol Virginia Public Schools has been dedicated to providing in-person learning for our students, and our community, in a safe and effective way since the beginning of the pandemic. That continues to be our goal as we follow a balanced risk approach. Certainly, COVID-19 presents some health risks to our students, but there are many other risks that we must consider as we finalize our plans to return to school this fall. Those include, among other things, the social-emotional, food, and childcare needs of our students and their families. We hope to return to school this fall as normally as possible and recent survey results demonstrated a similar desire from our school community. 

Although we have settled on a tiered mitigation approach as we return to school, we have not finalized our plans for masking. We will finalize those recommendations on August 9. Just as we weighed risk and altered mitigations throughout the year in 2020-21, we anticipate that mitigations will change as we navigate the 2021-22 school year. Based on our experience with COVID-19, I anticipate that the masking scenario we choose at the beginning of the school year will be different in the middle, and at the end of the year.  

Based on the current impact that COVID-19 is having on community, staff, and student body I would recommend the following masking requirements if the first day of school were today: 

Required Masking-  

  • All Visitors  
  • Anyone on a bus or other school transportation  
  • All Food Service Workers  
  • Elementary Students when in small groups that are 3 ft or closer for 15 minutes or longer  
  • Extra-Curricular participants when in non-active situations and are 3 ft or closer for 15 minutes or longer  
  • Non-Vaccinated Staff/Outside Agencies  
    • They will have a weekly option to test out; i.e. if they test negative on Tuesday, they can be mask-less until the next Tuesday.   
    • Testing will occur on their time and available through SVCHS 
Voluntary Masking-  
  • All Students PK-12 (We recommend that all non-vaccinated students consider voluntarily wearing a mask while indoors) 
  • All Staff  

Obviously, we are currently seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases in our nation, state, and region. If we continue to see a significant increase/decrease in positive cases in Bristol prior to August 19, this recommendation will change. 

We appreciate your support as we do our best to return to normal and do our best to provide a safe and effective in-person learning environment. Like last year, we will need your grace, patience, and prayers as we strive to serve our students and community. If you have any questions, please let me know.   

Keith Perrigan


Bristol Virginia Public Schools

280 Lee St.

Bristol, VA 24201

(276) 821-5600