BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — The Bristol, Virginia Board of Education voted Monday night to require the use of facemasks when school starts.
The board gave the superintendent the authority to adjust pandemic-related restrictions based on school and community COVID-19 data.
The vote came after Gov. Ralph Northam said masks should be required in schools based on a bill that was passed by the General Assembly.
“The intent of the bill was to make sure the school divisions provided in-person instruction and that is a, in my opinion, and this is my opinion only, that announcement that was made late last week was political posturing and our students were being used as pawns in a greater game of political chess,” Superintendent Keith Perrigan said during the meeting.
The vice-chair of the school board said the governor did not impact his decision.
“There’s a lot of things that we don’t know about this Delta variant and since it’s affecting so many of the younger children nowadays I’m thinking we should take as many precautions as we can and those precautions to me include to make sure that we’re fully masked,” said Vice-Chair Tyrone Foster.
There will also be an incentive program to encourage staff members to get vaccinated. Pending state approval, a $500 bonus will be offered to vaccinated staff members.
Students will return for the fall semester on Aug. 19.