County Police and Fire Training Exercise Today — “#FCFRD is conducting a joint training exercise with Fairfax County Police Department at Fairfax County Government Government Center on Wednesday, June 22, between 9 a.m. -3 p.m. There will be a large fire and police presence in the area during this time. #FCPD Helicopter Fairfax 1 will land/take off during the exercise.” [FCFRD/Facebook]
Rep. Beyer Wins Democratic Primary — Rep. Don Beyer’s bid for reelection remains alive after he won the Democratic nomination for the 8th Congressional District yesterday (Tuesday). Per the Office of Elections, Fairfax County’s turnout reached an estimated 2.5%, as of 3:30 p.m., not including early and absentee voters. [WTOP, Twitter]
Health Aide Under Investigation for Stealing Student Meds — Fairfax County police are investigating a health aide who allegedly took student medications and replaced them with allergy medicine while employed at Greenbriar East Elementary School. The Fairfax County Health Department worker has been placed on administrative leave and could be terminated. [FOX5]
New FCPS Cell Phone Policy Approved — “The policy taking effect in the 2022-2023 school year says students in kindergarten through eighth grade must silence cell phones and put them away for the entire school day. Students in grades nine to 12 must only silence and put away cell phones during classes.” [Patch]
Reduced Charges Possible for Former Freedom Hill ES Workers — “A former teacher and teacher’s aide in Fairfax County, Virginia, accused of abusing non-verbal disabled children entered plea agreements on [June 13] that would result in reduced charges and no jail time.” [NBC4]
Alexandria Man Charged in Springfield Shooting — A 24-year-old Alexandria man got into an argument with the acquaintance in the 2600 block of Redcoat Drive on Sunday (June 19) night around 11 p.m. inside an apartment before police say he shot the person in the upper body and fled. Fairfax County police told FFXnow the victim was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Officers located the suspect, who they identified of Antwan Pratt, and arrested him nearby, charging him with aggravated malicious wounding and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Kingstowne House Fire Started by Rags — Two people were displaced on Friday (June 17) by a house fire in the 7800 block of Kincardine Court that caused approximately $90,000 in damages. Investigators determined the blaze started in a first-floor laundry/utility room due to “the improper disposal of rags used for staining wood.” [FCFRD]
Retired Police Dog Dies — “We’re saddened to announce the passing of retired K9 Comak on Saturday. Comak served the Fairfax County community as a patrol dog from 2010 until he retired in 2019. Upon completion of his service, Comak was a beloved member of his handler’s family.” [FCPD/Facebook]
Shared-Use Path Proposed in Centreville — “The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a virtual design public hearing Monday, June 27 on plans to build a shared-use path along Compton Road (Route 658) to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety, accessibility and connectivity to the Cub Run Trail system…The project also includes widening the Compton Road bridge over Cub Run to accommodate the new shared-use path.” [VDOT]
McLean HS Runner Wins State Title — “By finishing first in the girls 1,600-meter race in 4:54.92, McLean High School distance runner Thais Rolly was the lone local winner from schools in the Sun Gazette’s coverage area at the recent Virginia High School League’s Class 6 girls and boys outdoor state championship meets.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
It’s Wednesday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 85 and low of 70. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]
A Few Sidelined Metro Trains Return Today — “Metro has previously said riders will first see the trains on the Green and Yellow lines. The transit agency says once they’ve established a ‘steady rhythm of inspections and consistently delivered eight trains for daily service,’ they will increase service on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines to every 15 minutes” [DCist]
D.C. Woman Believed to Be New Victim of Alleged Serial Killer — “A spokesperson with the Metropolitan Police Department told WTOP that ‘shopping cart killer‘ suspect Anthony Eugene Robinson is a person of interest in the death of Sonya Champ…found by police around 11:30 a.m. Sept. 7, 2021.” [Patch]
Dulles Toll Road May Phase Out Coins — “MWAA officials say the shift to an all-electronic system will reduce emissions from vehicles idling at the toll plaza. The shift to all-electronic tolling, expected to take place in January, comes as MWAA is considering the first toll increase for Dulles Toll Road users since 2019.” [The Washington Post]
School Board Vote on Student Phone Use Tonight — “Under a proposed revision to the ‘Student Rights and Responsibilities’ handbook, cellphone use for most students would be prohibited during all classes as well as visits to the bathrooms and locker rooms…A vote on the handbook for next year is scheduled for Thursday night.” [WTOP]
West Springfield Baseball Player Goes Viral — Eric Fila, a catcher for West Springfield High School, shook hands with the home plate umpire after his team lost to Herndon High School in the 10th inning of a June 7 game in the Virginia state tournament quarterfinals. Video of the gesture was posted on Twitter and went viral, even airing during a Phillies-Brewers broadcast. [The Washington Post]
Virtual Mental Health Services Available for Students — “Through August 5, the FCPS Office of Intervention and Prevention Services will offer virtual mental wellness consultations. Parents and students can schedule a 45-minute consultation with a school psychologist or school social worker by phone or videoconference.” [FCPS]
McLean Community Center Reschedules Fourth of July — The center’s annual Independence Day celebration will now take place at Langley High School from 6:30-10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 2. Vienna and Fairfax City have also moved events off of July 4 due to staffing shortages at the company that conducts their fireworks shows. [MCC/Twitter]
Inside Tysons Corner Center’s Princess Diana Exhibit — “Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibit takes a look at Diana’s life as a royal, seen through the eyes of [royal photographer Anwar] Hussein. His work — including never-before-seen photographs of the princess — is presented next to photos taken by his sons Samir and Zak, who both work as royal photographers today.” [Washington City Paper]
It’s Thursday — Possible light rain in the morning and overnight. High of 86 and low of 71. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]
More than half of Fairfax County’s public high schools have no permanent restrooms for their outdoor athletic facilities, leaving players and spectators to endure the stench and claustrophobia of port-a-potties.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors hopes to rectify the situation, unanimously approving a board matter to consider funding for new bathrooms at 15 schools in the coming fiscal year 2023, which starts July 1.
“We owe it to these schools to get them up to this standard for purposes of equity and public health and bottom-line fairness, so I hope we can support this and get this done as quickly as possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, who introduced the measure yesterday (Tuesday).
Fairfax County Public Schools has 28 high schools and 559 athletic fields that are used by the general community as well as students.
However, FCPS didn’t provide permanent stadium bathrooms when many schools were built, and the following schools have yet to get upgrades, despite growing concerns that port-a-potties are inadequate for facilities that can seat as many as 15,000 people:
- Lake Braddock
- Mount Vernon
- South Lakes
- Thomas Jefferson
- West Potomac
“The School Board and the Board of Supervisors have been partnering for some time to identify a path forward to address the need and provide stadium bathrooms,” an FCPS spokesperson said by email.
Directing county staff to include the projects as a consideration item when revising the adopted FY 2023 budget this fall, McKay called the lack of permanent bathrooms an equity concern in terms of geography, income, and gender, noting that the schools where this is an issue are spread across the county.
“Permanent bathroom facilities at stadiums should be standard, not a matter of where you live,” the board matter said.
He credited Megan McLaughlin and Karen Corbett-Sanders, who respectively represent Braddock and Mount Vernon districts on the school board, with advocating for facility improvements.
Expressing support for “the anti-Port-a-John board matter,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said outdoor bathrooms were one of the most anticipated benefits of recent renovations at Herndon High School.
According to Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, West Potomac High School has been in need of permanent stadium restrooms since he was the PTA president “a couple of decades ago.”
“It frankly got down to economics, how you find the dollars to make this work,” Storck said.
The county estimates that approximately $15 million will be needed for all 15 projects. Exactly where that money will come from remains a question mark, but the Board of Supervisors suggested the costs will be shared between the county government and FCPS.
The board told staff to work with FCPS to determine how the costs will be split using data from a Synthetic Turf Task Force report published in 2013.
McLaughlin said in an emailed statement that she was “thrilled” to see the Board of Supervisors unanimously approve McKay’s board matter.
“This ongoing facility issue has been an important concern for many years among our principals, student activities directors, coaches, athletic boosters, student athletes, families, and County recreation leagues,” she said. “The lack of permanent bathroom facilities impacts students everyday with respect to PE classes, sports practices, and band practices. It also impacts spectators and County residents who use and/or visit our fields.”
McLaughlin said she and Corbett-Sanders, who were part of a working group convened by McKay on the topic, plan to submit a similar request for funding to the school board.
Photo via FCPS/Facebook
Austin Transit Leader Named New Metro General Manager — “Metro on Tuesday tapped the chief executive of a Texas transit agency to lead the system through safety and pandemic-related challenges that have frustrated riders and strained public transportation…Randy Clarke, 45, will replace Paul J. Wiedefeld, who announced in January that he would retire on June 30″ [The Washington Post]
Fairfax County Firefighter Gets Funeral Procession — “Tuesday marked the final farewell for Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Captain Kimberly Schoppa, who died last month from occupational cancer. Her line-of-duty funeral included a procession and escort to the church, with her flag-draped casket onboard a fire truck and then carried inside by the Honor Guard.” [ABC7]
Jury Awards Tysons Company $2B in Damages — A Fairfax County Circuit Court jury awarded Appian over $2 billion in damages after finding rival software company Pegasystems Inc. stole its trade secrets. Announced yesterday (Tuesday) after a seven-week trial, the damages are the largest ever awarded in Virginia court history, Appian says. [Appian]
County Board Approves New Budget — “On Tuesday morning, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave final approval to the fiscal year 2023 budget, which reduces the real estate tax rate by 3 cents. The approved budget did not change from the budget markup the board approved on April 26.” [Patch]
Teachers’ Union Calls for Continued Virtual Learning — The Fairfax Education Association sent a letter to Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand and school board members last week urging them to “continue offering a limited virtual school program for vulnerable students and staff.” FCPS announced in March that it will discontinue the option in the next school year. [WTOP]
Former Reston Association Board President Dies at 84 — “In the words of one reporter, Mike [Freeman Jr.] had a case of chronic community activism for a myriad of Reston organizations, including St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, FISH, and soccer and swim teams. He was a volunteer driver for the first local RIBS bus, and an elected board member of the Reston Association, serving as Board President 1988-89.” [Patch]
County Opens West Falls Church Transportation Survey — “The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will hold a second round of virtual community meetings to present updates on the West Falls Church (WFC) Active Transportation Study…The public will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide input as well as completing an online survey to provide feedback.” [FCDOT]
Fairfax County Honors Hockey Team and Teachers — The Board of Supervisors recognized the Langley High School ice hockey team yesterday for winning the Northern Virginia School Hockey League championship in February while also completing the season with the least amount of penalties among teams. The board also designated May as Teacher Appreciation Month. [Fairfax County]
Veteran and Military Spouse Career Fair Starts Today — “The free-to-attend event features two days of opportunities for candidates to connect with companies, with in-person sessions between 10:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET on May 11 at the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and a virtual fair taking place from 1:00-4:00 p.m. ET on May 12″ [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]
It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 69 and low of 50. Sunrise at 6:01 am and sunset at 8:12 pm. [Weather.gov]
West Potomac Soccer Coaches Fired After Hazing — “In a message to West Potomac High School soccer families, Principal Tanganyika Millard said that after an April 21 practice, a ‘parent reported a student was injured after being singled out to run through a ‘gauntlet/tunnel.” Head coach Ahmad Sasso and two other coaches were fired after the incident.” [WTOP]
Dead Firefighter Escorted to Funeral Home — “#FCFRD members gathered to salute Captain Kimberly Schoppa during her dignified transfer. Units from her last assignment, Fire Station 27, West Springfield, carried her to the funeral home. Thank you to Fairfax County Police Department for the escort.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Facebook]
FCPS Alum Goes to Space — NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, a graduate of Robinson Secondary School, is part of a four-person crew that was scheduled to blast off to the International Space Station this morning (Wednesday) for SpaceX’s next mission. Lindgren was one of 18 astronauts selected by NASA in 2020 for its Artemis Team, an initiative to get humans back to the moon. [Florida Today]
Alpacas Make Fairfax County Courthouse Appearance — “By the time the alpacas arrive outside the Fairfax County Courthouse, it’s not really that surprising…The scene outside the Depp-Heard trial, entering its third week on Monday, has transformed the Fairfax County court complex from a place where Northern Virginia residents contest parking tickets to the stage for one of the biggest celebrity court cases in recent memory.” [The Washington Post]
TJ Tops National School Rankings — “Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County was ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to a new national ranking by U.S. News and World Report. This year’s list of best high schools evaluated more than 17,800 schools nationwide, including 322 in Virginia.” [Patch]
Vienna Students Write Cards for Ukrainian Refugees — “Students at Freedom Hill Elementary School in Vienna wrote stacks of cards to Ukrainian refugees for their principal to deliver on his spring break trip to Germany. Principal Nicholas Zapadka…decided to travel to Cologne in early April to help Ukrainian refugees who had arrived at a Red Cross refugee camp in Germany.” [Patch]
Mantua Home with Squatter Sold — “The home went off the market on April 15 for $805,000. It was built in 1964 and was last sold in 1997 for $319,000. The owner’s name was withheld by request on the Fairfax County auditor’s site. The new buyer’s name also was not listed.” [WUSA9]
It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 55 and low of 41. Sunrise at 6:17 am and sunset at 7:59 pm. [Weather.gov]
County Libraries to Resume Standard Hours — Fairfax County Public Library will once again open its eight regional branches seven days a week, and its 14 community branches on Mondays, effective this Sunday (April 3). The system truncated its hours starting in January due to the surge in COVID-19 cases and high staff vacancies. [FCPL]
Omicron Subvariant Identified in Fairfax County Patients — “BA.2 is now estimated to be responsible for about one in three COVID-19 infections in the country and one in five COVID-19 infections in Virginia. While BA.2 appears to be more contagious and can spread faster, it is not known to make people sicker.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
County Commonwealth’s Attorney Responds to Miyares Criticism — “The two powerful men have been in a feud for months. Attorney General Jason Miyares is pushing for tough-on-crime policies, while [Steve] Descano campaigned on ending mass incarceration and reforming the criminal justice system.” [ABC7]
“Coming to America” Restaurant Planned for Springfield — “Starting in May, shoppers at the Springfield Town Center can stride through the golden arcs of McDowell’s and order a Big Mick — a burger that is totally different from that other sandwich, thank you very much, because the buns don’t have seeds.” [Washingtonian]
Falls Church Approves Founders Row Part II — “The Falls Church City Council approved yet another large scale mixed use project for its downtown corridor Monday night, by a 5-2 vote giving a final OK to what has become known as the ‘Founders Row 2‘ project that will fill the space at the now vacant Rite Aid and the carpet store at the corner of W. Broad and S. West St.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Congress Members Concerned about Silver Line Phase 2 Delays — “U.S. Reps. Jennifer Wexton (D), Don Beyer (D) and Gerry Connolly’s letter to MWAA came a day after Paul Wiedefeld, the CEO and general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said unresolved issues…are preventing a declaration of operational readiness.” [Patch]
Capital One Partners with MLB — “McLean’s Capital One Financial Corp. is Major League Baseball’s new official banking and credit card partner. Capital One announced the multiyear deal Monday…Terms were not disclosed, but reports have pegged it as a $125 million deal for MLB over five years.” [Washington Business Journal]
Reston Library to Host First Responders on Saturday — “Join us as we celebrate the brave men and women who rush to emergency situations every day to take action when disaster strikes. Meet our local firefighters as they showcase the equiptment used for respond to emergencies. 11am-2pm at Reston Library.” [FCPL]
Local Students Compete in Special Olympics — “Congratulations to the Madison Special Olympics Unified Basketball Team who competed in their first Special Olympics this weekend at Marshall HS.” [James Madison High School/Twitter]
It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 56 and low of 36. Sunrise at 6:57 a.m. and sunset at 7:31 p.m. [Weather.gov]
FCPD Commander Demoted Over Shooting Response — “A Fairfax County police commander has been demoted as part of an ongoing administrative investigation of suicides by a department recruit and his wife that occurred hours apart in their Mount Vernon-area home in late February, authorities said…The officer was the on-scene commander during the incident.” [The Washington Post]
Fire Put Out Near Vienna’s Flint Hill Elementary — “Crews responded this morning to the 2400 block of Flint Hill Road for a small fire in a chicken coop. #FCFRD firefighters were im-peck-able in quickly egg-stinguishing the fire. Everyone felt very cluck-y that there were no reported fowl-talities or injuries.” [FCFRD/Twitter]
Last Living Pupil Revisits Historic Oakton School — The Vale Schoolhouse in Oakton got a visit from a familiar face last week. Now 103 years old, Stan Proffitt stopped by the two-room building, which dates back to 1884, with his three great-grandchildren from Florida during their spring break tour of Virginia history. [The Washington Post]
Conflict over Reston Invasive Species Program Continues — The Hunters Green Cluster Association board unanimously rejected a proposal to address invasive plants in the area, stating that the Reston National Study Group “has greatly exaggerated the problem.” The developer-led study group expressed surprise at the move, saying the pilot program was proposed by a member of the neighborhood’s board. [Patch]
McLean Design Workshop Tomorrow — “Weigh in on the design of McLean’s public spaces through this upcoming virtual community workshop! Share feedback on open space features including lighting, street furnishings, parks and more to help define the character of McLean!” [McLean Community Center/Twitter]
Reston Prom Dress Giveaway Returns From Pandemic Hiatus — “High school students from around the area will be able to choose prom dresses, jewelry and accessories for free as part of RCC’s Diva Central. The event will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., this Saturday at RCC Lake Anne, which is located at 1609-A Washington Plaza in Reston.” [Patch]
Hunter Mill Supervisor Recognizes Vienna Student Athletes — “The Board of Supervisors traditionally invites state champions to be recognized at a special meeting. During COVID, these were paused. Today, @WalterAlcornFFX joined us at school to recognize basketball, field hockey, baseball & swim/dive from the past two years…[He] also recognized the Pride of Vienna for their multiple state championships. Back 2 Back!” [James Madison High School/Twitter]
County Celebrates Land Surveyors — “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have designated the week of March 20-26, 2022 as Surveyors Week. This week recognizes the historic contributions of surveying and appreciation for the new technologies that are modernizing the profession.” [Department of Public Works/Twitter]
It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 62 and low of 46. Sunrise at 7:10 a.m. and sunset at 7:24 p.m. [Weather.gov]
Fairfax County Public Schools could start providing livestreamed or recorded classes for students who can’t be in school buildings due to COVID-19 later this month.
Superintendent Scott Brabrand told the Fairfax County School Board on Thursday (Sept. 9) that administrators are developing a plan to let students attend their regular classes remotely when they have to quarantine, isolate, or pause in-person learning in response to testing positive for COVID-19 or being identified as a possible close contact of someone with the virus.
“We’re looking at several different options to get the important instructional content to our students, so it could be livestreaming. It could be teachers recording the lesson and posting the lesson,” FCPS Chief Academic Officer Sloan Presidio said at the meeting.
As of Thursday, FCPS has seen 555 reported cases of COVID-19 since Aug. 1, including 432 student infections. While that’s just 0.24% of the district’s 178,000-plus student population, the disruption in learning that comes with each positive case can affect entire classes or sports teams.
In addition to requiring isolation for students who test positive and quarantines for any unvaccinated close contacts, FCPS has been pausing in-school activities for students who could potentially be close contacts so the Fairfax County Public Health Department can conduct contact-tracing investigations.
“Fully vaccinated students who are identified as a close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to remain home as long as they do not have symptoms,” the school district says in its current health and safety guidance.
Last week, FCPS introduced a new system for electronically reporting students’ vaccination statuses in an effort to speed up the contact-tracing process.
Brabrand told the school board that FCPS is examining whether the 14-day quarantine period for unvaccinated students who come into close contact with a COVID-positive individual could be reduced to 10 or seven days.
Five of the seven COVID-19 outbreaks that have occurred in schools this academic year so far involved athletics, according to Brabrand. FCPS announced on Aug. 30 that it will require student athletes to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, effective Nov. 8.
A state law requires all public schools to provide in-person education for the 2021-2022 school year but allows for some exceptions. If a district offers online education for some students, it’s legally required to do so for all, such as students with disabilities and those with language needs, Brabrand said.
Braddock District Representative Megan McLaughlin raised concerns about the lack of a virtual learning option for elementary school students, who remain ineligible for the vaccine.
“We’ve gotten hundreds of emails from parents,” she said, pointing to Prince George’s County in Maryland. “They were offering it to 12,000 kids, and right now we only offer it to 400 kids.”
If approved, the classroom live-streaming option would be exclusively for students who aren’t able to attend school in-person for COVID-related reasons, as stated in Brabrand’s presentation and previously confirmed by FCPS officials.
FCPS officials said that, due to limited staffing, the live-streamed classes wouldn’t be interactive like last school year, when the district adopted a concurrent learning model where teachers worked with in-person and online students simultaneously. The school board largely balked at the idea of continuing that experiment into the new year.
Under the live-streaming approach, teachers could assist students through email correspondence. FCPS is reviewing whether office hours or other forms of outreach could be involved.
FCPS officials expect to present more details of their plans to the school board at a work session on Sept. 21.