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Schools » COVID-19 Information » FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Will someone be stationed at ALL doors at VMS and VHS to check temperatures, or will someone be stationed to make sure no student enters that door?    At the beginning of the day, the regular student and staff entrances will be manned.  After the school day begins, doors will be locked down and students, staff, and visitors will only be able enter through the main door (at VHS, there may be two, but they are close together).   As individuals prepare to enter the school, they will be checked at the door.


If a family comes to school to check in or check out a student will they really be expected to wait outside in the winter or in the rain?    Out of an abundance of precaution, we plan to limit the number of visitors coming into our buildings.   That does not mean that we will not allow them into the school, but they will have to go through the screening process.   For most families who are picking up a student, the best way is for them to phone the office or buzz in and ask for the student to be released.    The canopy would protect from the rain, and hopefully the student would be joining the family in short order so the wait would not wait very long.  Most will hopefully appreciate not having to go through the screening process.


How do hourly employees’ clock in remotely?  The Finance Department has the ability to turn on geocoding that will allow staff to clock in on their cell phones or laptops.   The range for clocking in can be extended as necessary, even for those working from home. 


I notice in INSTRUCTIONAL GUIDELINES that "activities" are scheduled.  What is considered an activity?  How will they be turned in and how graded?  i have trouble imagining a 5th grader having a 50 minute lesson and activity and paying attention that will include an activity that is to be completed, in a session followed by the next session of 30 minutes, etc. session.   The division has tried to evaluate the age of the child and the amount of time they can be engaged on the computer.    Activities would vary but could include:   an online worksheet, an essay, reading a story and responding to question, etc.  


What is the seating arrangement planned in cafeterias?   This is still an object of discussion.    Some principals have plans not to use the cafeterias and have students eat in the classrooms.   (pretty likely for elementary)   Whatever is decided, social distancing will be required which will limit the number of students in the cafeteria at any given time. 



Is there a plan for reaching the INCLUSION students being developed? We are in the process (with state guidance) of considering the needs of all students with disabilities and looking at each IEP to determine the best placement in terms of their academic needs and keeping everyone healthy.  This may require a change in services to mostly inclusion and less resource services to keep homogeneous groups (to minimize exposure to other students).  However, the bottom line is that we will have to amend all IEPs to reflect individualized services for all our students.


What about INTERCHANGE?  At this point, Interchange is prepared to do in-person learning with the students who attend Interchange (and since these are already small groups—no more than 10), social distancing should be no problem. 



If one student contracts COVID and has been in a classroom and has exposed other students and the teacher to the virus, will quarantine for the other students and the teacher go into effect for 72 hours?  If not, WHY? Also, what is the procedure for the students and teacher after that student has been removed? The below image shows our response in this case.  The last bullet indicates we refer to our local health department and follow their directive, which may include quarantine for the other students/teacher.  This will surely be part of our discussion when our committee meets next week as well.  


If a child getting on a bus shows a temperature over 100 and is sent back to his/her home but the parent(s) are not present, what happens to the child?  It will be imperative in our communications with parents and the community that they understand that students will be screened each day and parents should be present until the student gets on the bus.  However, we do know that doesn’t always happen.  If the scenario you described above occurs, our staff will have to stay with the student until a parent/guardian/caretaker can get there to take the student. We will not leave students unsupervised or unsafe.  It is in the plan for the school nurse to follow up with the family that day as well.  


FAQ graphic



What is a hotspot?  It is a small “puck” about the size of a man’s wallet that connects to the cellular network and provides wifi to the user.  Often referred to as a mobile hotspot.  Essentially, it gives you wifi at home or wherever you go that has cell service.  The devices generally have a battery and can be taken with you.  This is a good solution for students who may go to a relative’s house during the day.  A hardwired solution would only work in the home.  Here’s a link to all you ever cared to know about hotspots:


Do we have the ability to monitor web sites that may not be suitable?  The laptops we provide have filters on them that work regardless of where the laptop is or what network it is on.  We can run reports of what web sites the student accesses regardless of where they are.  The filtering capability is no different on or off our network.


In the event the parent is at work when the distance learning classroom, will there be someone at home who can get the student on the ipad and the hotspot connected?  The division will provide the families training on how to use the hotspots and ipads during inservice week.  All families will receive training on how to use their devices and the software the teacher intends to use.  We will ensure the ipad or laptop is connected to the hotspot before they receive it.  The hotspot is kind of like your phone—you turn it on and it connects to cell service automatically.  Nothing really to “do” there.  Once the device (ipad) is connected to the hotspot, it “remembers” the connection and connects automatically thereafter.  We also will have tech support numbers they can call into if they have issues.  All this will be covered during the family training session.


Will there be parent counseling available?  We have  been collaborating with Highlands Community Services(HCS) regarding mental health support for families, staff and students.   Highlands will provide 2.5 positions in Outpatient Therapy for services to families as well as staff and students. We will continue additional outreach with Communities in Schools, Susan Murray (Bristol Family Resource Center) and Melissa Roberts (Bristol's Promise) to inform them of community support already available.


A Social Emotional Learning (SEL) committee comprised of Guidance Counselors, and other mental health advocates will be developed.  The SEL Committee will meet monthly to  communicate needs and concerns as they arise in the schools with families. In addition, resources will be posted on the BVPS website and made available in the schools.


     What is the difference between “homeschool” and “Virtual/Remote Learning? 

Homeschool:  In Virginia “any parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person having control or charge of a child” (§ 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia) may provide home instruction as prescribed by § 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia.  A student who is homeschooled is not enrolled in the local school division and the instruction, monitoring of progress and grading is completed by the parent or other designated instructor.   

Virtual/Remote Learning: A student participating in virtual/remote learning is enrolled in the local school division and receives instruction, monitoring of progress and grades by a certified teacher.  Learning may take place at home or somewhere other than the school or classroom. 


Mitigation strategies


Are plexiglass dividers provided in all elementary schools?

500 plexiglass dividers have been purchased with Care funds and will be made available to all schools. If additional dividers are needed, principals will have the option to purchase additional dividers with instructional funds.


Where are air purifiers placed inside the schools?

Air purifiers have been placed inside offices and in classrooms where there is poor ventilation.   Teachers and staff are welcome to share areas of concern where additional purifiers may be needed.


What if the air conditioning breaks in a school? What is the follow up plan?

Depending on the length of the breakdown, a school may have to be closed if it cannot be properly ventilated. Each situation will be evaluated on a case by case basis.


Where are masks going to be required and where are they going to be suggested?

As metrics change for the region, the rules regarding face coverings may change. Currently, busses who carry more than 11 students will require that students wear face coverings. Our return to school plan currently details the following guidelines regarding face coverings:

  • BVPS will prioritize creating classroom environments that provide 6 feet of space between students. When that is not possible our mitigations will include:
  • Moving classes to larger rooms
  • Reducing space between students to 5 feet while providing desk shields, and/or suggesting use of face coverings*
  • Reducing space between students to 4 feet while providing desk shields, and/or insisting on the use of face coverings*
  • * The Governor does not recommend requiring face coverings for children under 10.



     Which health department will Bristol Virginia Public Schools be utilizing?

     Mount Rogers Health Department


What is the cut off point for determining if schools should close? Will the red yellow green system be in place? If so, what are the parameters of each level?

In collaboration with the local health department, metrics that will guide decision-    making is being developed. Decision making will be a collaboration between the local health department and school administration


A printable copy of this document is available below: