Bristol, Va. school board discusses re-opening options ahead of August start date

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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL)- School in Bristol, Virginia is just weeks away from starting on August 20th. Monday, the board of education discussed a wide range of topics but there were no decisions made as the unknowns of the Coronavirus are still looming.

Several options from rolling out an in-person learning plan that can switch to remote, changing school start times and even district lines were discussed.

“The current recommendation as it is is that we will have a fully in-person reopening of school for all the families who want to take advantage of that,” said Superintendent Dr. Keith Perrigan.

That plan comes after overwhelming survey results from students, parents and teachers asking to return to school.

“Survey’s always bother me because there is a huge percentage that we don’t reach in our survey and those are usually the ones who are most affected by the changes that we make,” said Vice- Chair Randy White.

Those who would like to continue remotely learning due to health reason can continue to do so. Other options on the table include evenly distributing students throughout the district and changing start times to allow for more social distancing.

“The class size is totally up in the air in all of our schools,” White said. “We’re no going to know and then depending on how this Coronavirus goes… that’s going to be a whole other matter of attendance and so on.”

If students can fully return in August, they can expect more distance, extra cleaning, temperature, and health checks among other requirements. They also will have been out of the classroom for five months… worrying about the strain put on teachers and those who thrive on in-person learning.

“There’s still probably some of our kids who are falling through the cracks,” said board member Tyrone Foster.

Perrigan and the board also plan to ask Governor Northam for communities with low virus transmission rates to have more leeway on school re-opening if more specific language isn’t included in guidance in the near future.

The next school board meeting is August 2nd.

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