Fairfax County COVID-19 cases over the past 180 days as of Jan. 18, 2022 (via Virginia Department of Health)

The peak of this winter’s omicron variant surge might be in the rearview mirror for Fairfax County.

After hitting an all-time high of 2,520 cases on Thursday (Jan. 13), the county’s COVID-19 caseload has dropped sharply over the past few days to a current weekly average of 1,919 new cases per day, according to Virginia Department of Health data.

That remains well above previous surges in the pandemic, since the county had never averaged more than 1,000 cases until this past Christmas. It’s also unclear whether Sunday’s snowstorm and yesterday’s government facility closures for Martin Luther King Jr. Day affected testing and reporting.

However, the Fairfax Health District’s testing positivity rate has declined from a seven-day rolling average of 34.1% on Jan. 10 to 29.9% as of Friday (Jan. 14), even with the number of tests reported increasing over that time frame.

Fairfax Health District COVID-19 testing positivity rate as of Jan. 18, 2022 (via Virginia Department of Health)

With 1,595 cases added today (Monday), the district, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, has recorded a total of 157,537 Covid cases, 4,379 hospitalizations, and 1,267 deaths during the pandemic.

Signs started to emerge last week that coronavirus infections may be peaking in the D.C. area and other East Coast cities where the omicron variant first surged in the U.S. The rapid rise and decline in cases echoes what other countries have seen from the variant, though health experts warn that relaxing precautions too soon could lead to another uptick.

All Fairfax County COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 18, 2022 (via Virginia Department of Health)

Notably, the drop in cases hasn’t translated into a drop in hospitalizations. In Fairfax County, the rate of hospitalizations related to Covid has stayed relatively stable over the past month, with the seven-day average hovering around five to six cases since the beginning of the year.

Virginia hospitals are reporting a weekly average of 3,871 Covid patients — more than at any other point in the pandemic. The majority of those patients are unvaccinated people, who are being hospitalized at 4.2 times the rate of their fully vaccinated counterparts.

After increasing with their expansion to younger children and the introduction of booster shots in the fall, the pace of vaccinations has slowed in the Fairfax Health District since the winter holidays, the Fairfax County Health Department’s vaccine dashboard indicates.

The 945,418 district residents who have gotten at least one dose constitute 79.9% of the total population, including 89.4% of people 18 and older. The percentage of adults is actually slightly behind Virginia as a whole (89.8%).

In the Fairfax Health District, 837,068 residents — 70.7% of the population and 79.9% of adults — are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to the VDH, 392,916 Fairfax County residents have gotten a booster shot or third dose. That amounts to 34.2% of the population, including 42.8% of adults.

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Face masks (via Mika Baumeister/Unsplash)

Fairfax County Public Schools plans to maintain its mask mandate despite Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order removing masking requirements in schools across the state.

The school system was one of several in the Commonwealth, particularly Northern Virginia, that pushed back against the freshly inaugurated governor’s order over the weekend.

FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said the decision was made in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our layered prevention strategies have proven effective in keeping transmission rates low in our schools,” Brabrand wrote in a message to the community on Sunday (Jan. 16). “We know our students are best served by in-person instruction. Adhering to our layered prevention strategies, especially universal masking, keep our schools open and safe places for students to learn.’

In his executive order — one of several instituted after he took office on Saturday (Jan. 15) — Youngkin said that the universal masking requirements in schools has provided “inconsistent health benefits” and inflicted “notable harm.”

“There is no greater priority than the health and welfare of Virginia’s children,” the executive order reads. “Under Virginia law, parents, not the government, have the fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care of their children.”

Brabrand did note that the school system is reviewing Youngkin’s executive order and will update the community about any changes to COVID-19 practices and protocol if they occur.

The Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics concurred with the school system’s decision.

“Face masks remain safe and reliable, and children have demonstrated their ability to wear them effectively,” the chapter’s statement reads, adding that masks allow schools to remain open.

The Democratic Party of Virginia called the governor’s actions “illegal” and an attempt to “appease the far-right instead of protecting Virginia’s children.”

“It’s a sad situation when local school boards in Virginia understand the law and the science more than the governor of Virginia does,” DPVA Chair Susan Swecker said.

But Youngkin says that while the CDC recommends masks, research has found no statistically significant link between mandatory masking and reducing transmission of COVID-19. He says that many children do not wear masks correctly and that the practice produces a “demoralizing” effect.

The executive order will go into effect on Jan. 24.

FCPS has reported 620 COVID-19 cases after five days of in-person instruction this year. A little over 1,500 students have been in quarantine this month.

Other school districts that plan to maintain their masking requirements include Arlington County, Alexandria City, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, Manassas City, Prince William County, Stafford County, and Spotsylvania County.

It is unclear how Youngkin will legally enforce the lifting of the mask requirement, but because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, localities do not have powers outside of those enumerated by the state.

Photo via Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

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Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills with snow on the roadway (via VDOT)

Roadways in Fairfax County are covered in snow after flurries first started to fall around 1 p.m. and local officials are warning drivers to continue to stay home.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has trucks working on major roadways, according to its snow plow map.

As previously advised, Virginia State Police spokesperson Shelby Crouch said to avoid travel today through tomorrow to allow VDOT crews to safely and effectively work.

“During the current winter storm impacting the Commonwealth, Virginia State Police troopers have responded to 369 traffic crashes and 282 disabled vehicles since 12:01 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 16) through 4:30 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 16),” Crouch said. “The majority of those crashes have involved only damage to vehicles. There have been no reported traffic fatalities during this time period.”

State police have responded to 36 disabled vehicles & 41 traffic crashes in Fairfax today.

Dominion Energy has not seen any power outages in Fairfax County as of publication, according to its outage map, but the company said it was monitoring the storm in Virginia and had crews ready to respond to any damage or power outages.

The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang estimated there was about an inch of snow in the area as of 4:30 p.m.

By 5 p.m., Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills Road near Reston were blanketed with snow as it continued to fall. The National Weather Service predicts freezing rain will begin around 9 p.m., with a chance of 1 to 2 inches of new snow accumulation after that.

Here’s what the NWS says to expect through the evening:

Snow should overspread all of our region by 21Z with light to moderate snow likely for most of the region through the early parts of the evening. A warm layer aloft should start moving into our region at 850 mb this evening leading to transition from snow to a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain for areas east of I-81. Areas along the I-95 corridor should start transitioning first between 5 and 8 pm this evening, with the warm layer continuing to push westward with the transition shifting over the shenadoah Valley by the 6 to 9pm period. The I-95 corridor should become all rain by the 7 to 9pm period as temperatures rise above freezing with the all rain layer likely reaching as far west as areas just east of I-81. Our high temperatures for Monday may very well occur around midnight or early Monday morning due to the warming on-shore flow. I believe the Allegheny front should remain mainly snow with periods of sleet and freezing rain mixing in at times this evening and into early Monday morning. Precipitation is expected to start tapering off early Monday morning between midnight and 2am with snow likely to continue along the Allegheny front into Monday.

A strong low level easterly jet is expected to form late this evening and into Monday evening. Winds of 35 to 45 mph`s will be possible over our higher elevations with 25 to 35 knots possible else where. Continued light to moderate snow showers along the Allegheny front will combine with the strong winds to produce some near Blizzard like conditions along and west of the Allegheny Mtns. We have highlighted this threat in our WSW product. The overnight
gusty winds should taper off by daybreak but gusts of 20 to 25 mph should continue into Monday morning.

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Expected snowfall for D.C. area on Jan. 16-17 (via National Weather Service/Twitter)

(Updated at 11:55 a.m.) A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Fairfax County, as the D.C. area prepares for its second snowstorm of the year.

In effect from 1 p.m. today (Sunday) to 1 a.m. tomorrow (Monday), the alert warns of mixed precipitation that will create slippery, hazardous road conditions.

The National Weather Service anticipates snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches and one-tenth of an inch of ice, along with wind gusts that could reach speeds of 45 miles per hour. With temperatures expected to drop below freezing tonight, travel could be affected through tomorrow morning.

The Virginia Department of Transportation began pretreating roads with brine on Friday (Jan. 14) and mobilized snow plow crews this morning, deploying more than 3,800 pieces of equipment throughout Northern Virginia, according to a 10 a.m. snow update.

“Plan your trips now to avoid all nonessential travel on Sunday into Monday, especially during the height of the storm, to avoid deteriorating conditions and to allow crews room to work,” VDOT said.

Fairfax County Public Schools has canceled all activities on school grounds after 1 p.m.

Fairfax Connector plans to continue operating regular Sunday service, but detours could be implemented along some routes starting at 3 p.m.

After the Jan. 3 snowstorm took out power for about 500,000 households across the state, including tens of thousands of people in Fairfax County, Dominion Energy says crews and contractors from as far away as Louisiana and Oklahoma will be on hand to assist with its emergency response.

“Our crews are ready to once again rise to any challenge this storm will bring,” Charlene Whitfield, Dominion’s senior vice president of power delivery, said in a news release. “Customers should prepare, as well, so they can remain safe until our work is done.”

Dominion advises avoiding downed power lines and reporting outages through its website or to 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) to ensure the fastest possible response.

Map via National Weather Service/Twitter

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Another winter storm is brewing, potentially bringing 3 to 4 inches of snow to Fairfax County on Sunday and Monday (Jan. 16-17).

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County. The alert will take effect at 1 p.m. on Sunday and last through 7 a.m. Monday, when the snow is  expected to turn into a wintry mix with sleet and freezing rain.

The NWS projects total snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches as the most likely scenario, though up to 5 inches could be possible. The forecast also includes up to an one-tenth of an inch of ice accumulation and wind gusts that could reach 45 miles per hour.

“Snow may fall at 1 to 3 inches per hour late Sunday afternoon and early Sunday evening, resulting in
nearly impassable roads,” the alert says, warning that slippery and hazardous road conditions could affect Monday’s commute.

Preparations for the coming storm are underway, with the Virginia Department of Transportation treating roads throughout Northern Virginia today.

“Since dry conditions are expected, we are able to brine throughout Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties,” VDOT spokesperson Kathleen Leonard told FFXnow. “Drivers will start to see those white brine lines, which really just gives us a little bit of time at the beginning of the storm, preventing ice from bonding to the pavement.”

Leonard says snow trucks will be staged tomorrow (Saturday) so that plowing operations can begin once the area gets about two inches of snow.

Gov. Ralph Northam, who will be officially succeeded by Glenn Youngkin tomorrow, declared a state of emergency today in anticipation of the storm.

“Declaring a state of emergency now allows our emergency responders to prepare, and to move supplies and equipment where they expect to need them the most,” Northam said. “This also gives Governor-elect Youngkin the ability to respond to any storm needs swiftly. I urge Virginians to take this storm seriously and make preparations now.”

VDOT and the Virginia State Police are both advising people to avoid traveling during the storm, though the police agency says all available troopers will be on patrol to respond to crashes and disabled drivers.

While schools will be closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Fairfax County Public Schools says students and staff should bring their computers home today in case a snow day is needed next week.

Any snow days will include virtual learning, because the school system already used its five designated “traditional” snow days after a snowstorm slammed the D.C. region last week, disrupting transportation and power networks.

Dropping up to 3 inches of snow per hour, Winter Storm Frida affected 58,000 miles of roadway across Virginia and took out electricity for approximately 500,000 households, according to VDOT, which is part of a multi-agency review of the state’s response after hundreds of motorists were stranded for hours on I-95.

In Fairfax County, snowfall totals on Jan. 3 ranged from 4.5 inches in Herndon to 11.8 inches in Franconia.

Photo via National Weather Service

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After only five days of in-person instruction so far, Fairfax County Public Schools has reported 620 COVID-19 cases and quarantined 1,534 students this month.

FCPS has paused 11 classes since schools reopened after winter break on Monday (Jan. 10), spokesperson Julie Moult said in an email, meaning in-person learning was suspended to enable contact tracing.

Virtual classes kick in after three days of absences at the latest, Moult says.

Students with COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days, while those exposed must quarantine for five days, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent guidelines.

There have been 470 cases involving students, about half the number seen in all of December, according to a FCPS COVID-19 dashboard. For staff, there have been 143 COVID-19 cases and 247 quarantines this month.

The cases come after only one week of in-person classes for FCPS. Students’ two-week winter break in December was essentially extended by another week earlier this month due to winter weather, using the district’s entire allotment of traditional snow days for the school year.

Coronavirus cases have surged in the region and country, with an average case peaking at least three times as high as any other surge, which previously had been last winter.

This week, FCPS saw cases involving over five people at the following schools:

  • 11 students at Cub Run Elementary
  • Nine students and a staff member at Lake Braddock Secondary School
  • 24 students and one staff member at Madison High
  • 16 students at Oakton High
  • 13 students at Robinson Secondary School
  • Eight students and one staff member at Whitman Middle School
  • 10 students at South Lakes High

Last year, FCPS quarantined 47 staff and 1,411 students in November, and 324 staff and 3,603 students in December.

The slew of coronavirus cases are part of an ongoing surge in infections fueled by the omicron variant, with Fairfax County currently averaging over 2,400 cases a day.

In anticipation of an uptick in cases, FCPS shared a plan last week for handling faculty absences, even as officials reiterated a commitment to keeping classes in person.

The surge has affected other county government services as well. Citing a high number of staff vacancies due to COVID-19 cases, Fairfax County Public Library announced earlier this week that, starting on Jan. 17, all branches will be temporarily closed on Sundays and Mondays until April 1.

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A new COVID-19 testing site is coming to Fairfax County, potentially easing up the current scramble for tests amid a surge in cases locally and statewide.

The Virginia Department of Health will open a community testing center tomorrow (Saturday) at the Fairfax County Government Center. The site will be set up in large tent in parking lot B, which is in the southwest corner of the complex.

With the capacity to administer 500 tests a day, the site will operate Saturdays through Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. by appointment only. Appointments will become available online one day before testing officially begins.

Here’s more from the county on how appointments will be administered:

Anyone who makes an appointment but cannot keep it or finds testing elsewhere is asked to cancel their CTC appointment so that the slot will be free for someone else.

CTC test results will be automatically sent via text or email message to individuals being tested, based on the information provided in the appointment system. PCR test results are usually available within a few days and are very effective in detecting an active COVID-19 infection, even if a person is asymptomatic (not showing signs of illness).

Testing is recommended for individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been instructed to test following a COVID-19 exposure. A PCR test should not be done by those seeking to return to work or school after completing isolation for a COVID-19 infection as PCR tests may remain positive even after an individual is no longer infectious.

While appointments are required, all visitors are asked to be patient as there might be wait times. Please dress warmly as part of the line may extend outside. This is not a drive-in event so attendees will need to park and enter the tent.

The county continues to set daily records for new cases. Residents report that testing remains elusive throughout the county.

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Martin Luther King Jr. addressing the crowd in Washington at the Civil Rights March in 1963 (via National Archives)

Expect the usual array of closings this Monday (Jan. 17) to remember the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Closures will affect public facilities, including schools and post offices, as well as most in-person banking services. Most other private businesses, however, will be open.

Here’s a list of other local services and how they’ll be affected.

DMV

All DMV offices will be closed Monday.

Fairfax County

County offices and the County Circuit Court will be closed Monday.

Fairfax Connector buses will operate on holiday weekday service. A full list of routes affected is available online.

Fairfax County Public Library will be closed for the holiday, but this weekend also marks the start of a new, temporary schedule, where all branches will be closed on Sundays and Mondays through April 1.

Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon will have special programming as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service.

Falls Church

Mary Riley Styles Public Library will be closed Monday. Most government offices and services will be closed. The community center will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation will have a program in honor of King at 11 a.m. Monday at the Tinner Hill Civil Rights Monument (South Washington Street at Tinner Hill Road in Falls Church) and a march at noon.

Herndon

The town offices and Herndon Community Center will be closed Monday. Recycling normally collected on Monday will be collected on Tuesday (Jan. 18).

McLean

The McLean Community Center will be closed on Monday, but it will mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a concert tonight (Friday) and a talk on Sunday (Jan. 16), both led by musician Daryl Davis.

Metro

Metrobus will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule and Metrorail will run regular scheduled weekday service.

Reston

The Reston Community Center Hunters Woods will host its 36th Annual Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration with events on Sunday and Monday.

Both the Hunters Woods and Lake Anne locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday.

Vienna

The town typically lists MLK Day as a holiday. Expect town offices to be closed.

Photo via National Archives

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The U.S. Supreme Court (via Geoff Livingston/Flickr)

(Updated on 1/14/2022 at 4:30 p.m.) The Fairfax County School Board has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a former student’s sexual assault lawsuit, a move that could reshape how the federal law against sexual violence in schools is interpreted.

A petition filed by the school board on Dec. 30 argues that public school systems can’t be held liable for sexual harassment and assault unless officials knew an assault took place and could have prevented it.

The lawsuit was initiated in May 2018 by a former Oakton High School student, identified as Jane Doe, who says Fairfax County Public Schools mishandled her report of being sexually assaulted by another student on a school band trip in 2017.

The school board is now seeking to reverse an appeals court’s order of a new trial in the case.

“Funding recipients are rightly held liable when their own conduct intentionally causes harassment,” the petition says. “But Title IX liability rightfully does not, under this Court’s precedents, extend to situations where a recipient does not actually know of harassment or when its actions cause no harassment.”

Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in public education programs and activities. Doe’s lawsuit argues that FCPS violated the law by ignoring reports of her assault, discouraging her from taking legal action, and failing to ensure her safety.

A U.S. District Court jury found in August 2019 that a sexual assault took place and harmed Doe’s educational experience, but the school board couldn’t be held liable under Title IX, because officials didn’t have “actual knowledge” that the assault had occurred.

Jury members’ reported confusion over the term “actual knowledge” — whether school officials need direct evidence of an assault or just a report of one — led Public Justice, the nonprofit representing Jane Doe, to appeal the case to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

A three-judge panel ruled in June that a sexual assault report meets the legal standard and ordered a retrial.

However, FCPS asked the appeals court to stay its order for a new trial in September, signaling that it planned to petition the Supreme Court.

In a statement to FFXnow, FCPS maintained that the school board “could not have foreseen the assault, did not cause it, and could not have prevented it”:

Fairfax County Public Schools is committed to upholding Title IX and firmly believes that every student deserves an education free from harassment or discrimination. The decision to pursue this legal avenue has nothing to do with challenging this critical civil rights law.

The question in this case is only about whether Congress intended America’s public schools, and the teachers that work in them, to be held financially responsible for student-on-student misconduct that they had no way to foresee and did not cause.  We believe the law should be applied the same way nationwide, and only the Supreme Court has the power to restore that uniformity.

To fail to challenge the Fourth Circuit’s ruling would be to let down public school educators the length and breadth of the U.S., and especially in Virginia, during a time when they need support more than ever. In addition, to roll over in the face of costly and unfair lawsuits would be an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars and would set a worrying precedent for school divisions facing similar lawsuits now and in the future.

However, Public Justice says the school board’s position is at odds with its claims to support students’ safety and civil rights, essentially suggesting that schools can only be held liable for sexual violence if it reoccurs.

“[FCPS] has now asked the Supreme Court to gut crucial protections for Jane Doe, for Fairfax students, and for young survivors across the country, pushing a misinterpretation of Title IX that the U.S. Department of Justice has called ‘absurd,'” Public Justice staff attorney Alexandra Brodsky said by email. “We are confident, though, that the Court will deny the cert petition and Jane will have the chance to be heard by a jury.”

Brodsky added that Doe isn’t seeking to hold FCPS responsible for the assault itself, but rather, for how it responded to her report.

Public Justice has not filed a response to the school board’s petition yet. The Supreme Court docket shows that a motion to extend the deadline for a response to April 8 was granted on Tuesday (Jan. 11).

Shatter the Silence Fairfax County Public Schools, a nonprofit that says it was founded by survivors, parents, and FCPS students, has launched a petition demanding that the school board drop its appeal.

“We the citizens demand that FCPS withdraw the baseless appeal in Doe v. Fairfax County School Board and appropriately respond to sexual assault in school,” the petition says. “Since FCPS continues its culture of cover-up and indifference, we ask the Virginia Attorney General and the Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation into FCPS and bring accountability once and for all.”

Photo via Geoff Livingston/Flickr

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Person counts dollar bills (via Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash)

A pilot program that will give monthly cash assistance to select low-income residents is in development in Fairfax County.

While eligibility criteria, payment amounts, and other details are still being determined, the county has allocated $1.5 million to the effort from its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, as noted in a stimulus update to the Board of Supervisors’ budget policy committee yesterday (Tuesday).

First proposed at a health and human services committee meeting on June 29, the pilot will help people improve their financial situation by providing an additional, flexible source of income, county staff say.

“At its core, it’s an economic mobility initiative, but it’s also an anti-poverty initiative, and it’s certainly innovative,” Deputy County Executive Chris Leonard told the board last summer.

If it implements the pilot, Fairfax County will join a nationwide experiment with basic income programs that has also drawn in Arlington County and Alexandria. Research from around the world suggests the initiatives boost people’s happiness, health, and economic stability without limiting employment.

Fairfax County plans to model its pilot on the nonprofit UpTogether, which gives underserved individuals and families access to cash investments through an online platform that doubles as a social network.

UpTogether’s emphasis on trusting recipients to make their own decisions and building community deviates from traditional social services, which deliver vital resources like food or housing but often come with conditions, such as work requirements.

Fairfax County is looking at the nonprofit UpTogether as a model for its proposed basic income pilot program (via Fairfax County)

It’s the difference between helping people survive poverty and giving them the tools to escape it, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay explained, suggesting families, particularly those with young children, as a possible target population for the pilot.

“Part of what I think our obligation to do is to stop this generational poverty that seems to happen everywhere in the country,” McKay said. “If you’re going to break the trends of generational poverty, you somehow have to get to the youth.” Read More

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Fairfax County could designate different times and days for when tennis and pickleball players can use its shared courts.

That is one of the changes under consideration by the Fairfax County Park Authority after its board approved a pickleball study report in December that highlighted concerns about the two sports competing for limited court space.

“This information would be posted onsite and is aimed at reduced conflicts between players of both popular sports,” Park Authority spokesperson Judy Pedersen said by email.

Intended to gauge demand for new facilities and illuminate existing issues in the county, the pickleball study kicked off with an online survey in December 2020.

The survey ultimately drew over 1,800 responses, around 600 of which mentioned locations where people experienced conflict between pickleball use and another recreational activities, particularly tennis.

Respondents reported encountering often crowded courts, and one person recalled being told by a tennis player at Kemper Park in Oakton that the courts were for “tennis only,” even though the pickleball group had eight players.

In response to the sport’s growing popularity, Fairfax County has added 19 pickleball courts to existing tennis courts over the last 18 months. In November, two pickleball-only courts opened at Wakefield Park in Annandale.

With those additions, the FCPA now has 52 outdoor courts outfitted for pickleball, on top of six indoor courts in its recreation centers — a total similar to other similarly sized jurisdictions, according to the report.

However, the report also noted that the park authority has fewer facilities with six or more dedicated pickleball courts compared to other providers.

It recommended that the county create at least two pickleball-only facilities with at least six courts for large group drop-in play and tournaments, either by repurposing underutilized facilities or building new ones.

The FCPA is already looking at Lewinsville Park in McLean as a possible site for adding pickleball courts or converting the existing tennis courts into shared-use facilities.

Site constraints, the proximity of other facilities, and accessibility for populous areas in the county are among the factors that the county is taking into account when deciding potential court locations, according to Pedersen.

“Although we may potentially use park bond dollars in the future for the design and construction of pickleball-only facilities that could be used by larger groups, these projects would compete with the many other Park Authority projects, initiatives and capital needs of the entire park system,” Pedersen said.

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