New guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) allows school divisions to make locally-informed decisions on masking and other mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools. During Thursday evening’s meeting, the Danville School Board approved a recommendation brought forth by Director of Safety and Security William Chaney on mitigation strategies for the 2021-2022 school year.


The approved protocols included the following:

  • All staff, students and visitors will wear masks.
  • Students will maintain a 3 to 6 feet physical distance.
  • Desk/face shields will be used.
  • Cafeteria shields will be installed. 
  • Frequent hand sanitizing.
  • Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • The COVID-19 daily dashboard on our website will be reset with the new school year.
  • Contact tracing will be conducted immediately upon notification of a positive case.
  • Hygenica machines will be used to sanitize the schools.


Central office staff and Virtual Academy staff can remove masks if fully vaccinated. In addition, vaccinated employees can remove masks when students are not on the premises. Masks are required on all buses, and buses will be full capacity.


For athletics, all spectators will be required to wear masks at indoor sporting events, and capacity will be limited at 70 percent to allow for extra space. Coaches and athletes are not required to wear masks during competition, but those not actively participating should have a minimum of three feet physical distance. DPS recommends that unvaccinated spectators at outdoor sporting events wear masks, but mask usage will not be mandated outside.


All athletes and coaches will wear masks while traveling on buses. Any COVID related issues among athletes will be addressed immediately. By order of the Virginia High School League, visiting teams are to obey COVID protocols of the hosting team. 


Decisions on the mitigation strategy for the upcoming school year were informed by information provided by the local health department, evaluating levels of community disease transmission, and school-level vaccine coverage for students and adults. In addition, the CDC now recommends students, staff, and visitors wear masks in schools, regardless of vaccination status. DPS encourages eligible students and staff to be vaccinated, as vaccines are a critical prevention strategy. The division will continue to work with the Virginia Department of Health and monitor updates related to local COVID-19 data.


“We are excited to begin this school year with students in classrooms full time, but we know that certain protocols must be in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Superintendent Dr. Angela Hairston said. “This layered prevention strategy will be key in keeping students, teachers and staff safe and healthy so we can return to educating students in an engaged and rigorous environment.”