The COVID-19 pandemic has forced T.C. Williams High School to not have a traditional prom or graduation this year, and Alexandria City Public Schools are working on alternatives.
Schools Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. and T.C. Principal Peter Balas broke the news to more than 700 graduating seniors last week that the ceremony at George Mason University’s Eagle Bank Arena on June 13 has been canceled.
“Graduation… is not going to happen as it traditionally does because of the large gatherings that graduation or a commencement ceremony requires,” Hutchins said in one of his daily videos. “But we are still working with our seniors and also with our staff members to develop an innovative approach to actually have some form of a commencement ceremony or graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 and we’re going to have more information for you all about that soon.”
The 2020 yearbooks are also nearly complete and will be sent to students.
T.C. senior Peter Moser told Theogony, the school newspaper, that while it’s disappointing to miss prom and graduation, “I would rather have my grandparents alive.”
“There’s a huge risk to having both of those events, so canceling them was the right choice,” Moser said. “Hopefully, we will still be able to have a graduation ceremony in the summer or something.”
Governor Ralph Northam on March 23 ordered all schools to be closed for the remainder of the year. Alexandria’s public schools were already shut down until the end of spring break, and ACPS staff are currently working on a continuity plan for the rest of the year.
“We’re working right now with the Virginia Department of Education,” Hutchings said. “They will be submitting a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education to waive some of the graduation requirements, so that we can ensure students are not penalized for the school closures that will occur for the remainder of this year.”
The state department of education is also submitting an application to the U.S. Department of Education to wave requirements for students who still need to take standards of learning exams or earn industry credentials.
“Once that application is approved, we will be able to still have our seniors, graduate with a standard or an advanced diploma from TC Williams,” Hutchings said.
T.C. will also not have its traditional National Decision Day, where seniors commit to colleges with letters of intent.
Balas sent a letter to students informing them of the decisions and said that advanced placement exams will still be taking place, but will be shorter and online. The exam schedule will be available on April 3 from the College Board.
“I know this is going to be hard on you,” Balas wrote. “These events are rights of passage as you complete your senior year at T.C. Although we know we won’t be able to recreate the experience in the traditional manners, I plan to work with my Titans to come up with alternatives. Our students have been sending me some great ideas about how we can still celebrate this time in your lives.”
Photo via ACPS/Facebook
City Manager Mark Jinks presented the City Council with preliminary estimates for a $743.5 million fiscal year 2021 budget on Wednesday night — a $56.4 million reduction from the budget he unveiled in February.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Alexandria to drastically change its budget over the course of the last month. Preliminary cuts include eliminating the previously proposed 2 cent real estate tax increase, implementing a city hiring freeze [except $2 million to hire new Health Department staff], deferring raises for city staff and reducing the multi-million dollar transfer to Alexandria City Public Schools.
The budget would be an $18 million reduction over the current FY 2020 budget of $761.5 million.
Mayor Justin Wilson, who presided over the meeting with his colleagues via conference call, said that the impact will be felt in the city for years.
“The seven of us [on council] as well as the staff need to communicate to the public and make sure our residents are prepared and ready for the types of choices that we’re going to have to make about the role and scope of government in the city of Alexandria over the next several years,” Wilson said. “I think it’s right that it’s not just a one-year [or] two-year conversation. This is a multiple-year conversation.”
The previously approved budget also covered the $241.4 million transfer to the Alexandria City Public School system and fully funded the renovation of Douglas MacArthur Elementary School and the expansion of T.C. Williams High School. City and ACPS staff will now have to iron out which projects will get deferred and where budget reductions can be made.
“I don’t have a number yet. We have to have discussions with the schools,” said Jinks, who asked staff to make $100 million in cuts. “If the city’s budget goes down by $56 million, that means that every part of the budget needs to be looked at and I think that means reducing the ACPS operating transfer is something that’s going to need to occur to some degree.”
The uncertainty of COVID-19 will likely also impact the state’s budget, including millions to the city for its Combined Sewer Outfalls project.
“We had a conference call with the governor with mayors and chairs in the region on Friday, and he made it very clear that the budget that he sends back to the General Assembly for the reconvened session would be radically different than the budget that was approved by the General Assembly,” Wilson said. “That certainly means that money that is in there for the city and specifically for the CSO project may be very well at risk… Obviously there’s an expectation that that pretty much anything that’s in the General Assembly’s approved budget is at risk.”
City Council will receive the budget proposal next Tuesday and then will have a meeting on the proposed budget on April 14. The budget will be adopted on April 29.
Landmark Mall Redevelopment Uncertain — “An official from Howard Hughes Corp., a Texas-based company that owns the 51-acre property and has been working on redevelopment plans for several years, said in response to email inquiries from Alexandria Living Magazine: “Sorry, no update for now, but we’ll let you know when we have a good update.” [Alexandria Living]
Volunteer Alexandria Needs Volunteers — “For those who are eligible to volunteer, we encourage to take measures and bring their own sanitizer, wipes, and keep distance from other people.” [Volunteer Alexandria]
Alexandria Restaurant Partners Donating 50% of Gift Cards to Staff — “Purchase a gift card today and 50% of all sales will be donated directly to an ARP employee relief fund. Plus, you’ll receive a 20% bonus gift card with all gift card purchases of $25 or more as a thank you for your support. Gift cards can used immediately at both Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap and Mia’s Italian Kitchen.” [Facebook]
City Asks Spring Cleaners to Leave Big Stuff Alone — “It is certainly a tempting time of year to start “spring cleaning” but we ask you to help protect our workers and not overwhelm the waste stream. Please hold on to bulky or excess household items and help us reduce excess waste generation as much as possible during this time.” [Facebook]
Inova Assures Safe Conditions to Deliver Babies in Hospitals — “We’re still delivering bundles of joy to families at Inova every day. We understand you might be concerned if you’re expecting in these rapidly changing times. But, please be assured Inova is leading the way to help you bring your little one, or ones, into this world as safely as possible.” [Facebook]
Alexandria Wedding Showcase Pushed to June 28 — “One lucky couple will win 250,000 Marriott Bonvoy Travel Points, good for a week-long honeymoon to one of thousands of locations worldwide from The Westin Alexandria Old Town.” [Alexandria Wedding Showcase]
Old Newspaper Clipping Documents Spanish Flu in Alexandria — “Spanish influenza is increasing in the city at an alarming rate. There are few houses in the city where there is not a case of the disease… Doctors are working overtime but are performing their duties heroically. Druggists are doing their share for the general good filling prescriptions.” [Facebook]
VIP Alexandria Magazine Going Digital in April — “Does this mean we are going ALL DIGITAL? HECK NO! We LOVE print! And VIP Alexandria Magazine will be back, in your beautiful hands, by May when we release our Annual Health & Beauty Issue! Hang in there, Alexandria! We’re all in this together!” [Facebook]
Del Ray Creates Stuffed Animal ‘Zoofari’ — “The idea is for homeowners to put out stuffed animals in their front yards, porches, trees, flower boxes, gardens, and places where they can be seen. The kids and parents can then walk around the neighborhood locating them and checking off, creating a safe Zoofari scavenger hunt walk.” [Zebra]
There are now 55 positive cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, the city’s Health Department Director Dr. Stephen Haering told city council on Wednesday night.
The new figure is an increase of 11 cases since yesterday.
The full breakdown in Alexandria is below:
- March 11 — First positive case reported
- March 15 — Second positive case reported
- March 17 — Fourth positive case reported
- March 24 — The number of cases jumps to 13
- March 25 — The number of cases increases to 14
- March 26 — The number of cases increases to 20
- March 27 — The number of cases increases to 24
- March 28 — The number of cases increases to 28
- March 29 — The number of cases increases to 32
- March 31 — The number of cases increases to 44
There are now more than 1,400 COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths related to the virus in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
By now, homes across the city have received forms and information regarding the 2020 Census.
An accurate count of residents helps Alexandria receive federal aid, redistrict jurisdictions, gather statistics for grant applications and apportion congressional seats.
The City Council budgeted $80,000 to get the word out to residents, and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates $20,000 in federal funding in the city is lost with every person left uncounted over the course of 10 years.
According to the city:
The online Census form will be available in 12 languages other than English, and language guides are available for 60 languages.
The 2020 Census asks:
- How many people are living or staying in your home on April 1, 2020
- Whether the home is owned or rented
- Each person’s sex
- Each person’s age
- Each person’s race
- Whether each person is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin
- The relationship of each person to the householder
Today is 2020 Census day! It takes less than 10 minutes to complete your Census and ensure our community gets the…
Alexandria Police Chief Michael L. Brown says there has been a marginal increase in domestic violence calls for service over the last three weeks, and is concerned that Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay at home order will mean a more significant uptick.
“We’re not seeing a real huge spike, but as time goes on the pressures inside the homes of the residents may increase as everyone’s now sheltering in place,” Brown told ALXnow. “We’re very concerned about the stress that causes within the household or within the home and we want to make sure that our community gets the assistance it needs to get through this process.”
Brown added, “We would rather do that than respond to a call for service involving some kind of a fight or domestic violence issue.”
The city’s Sexual Assault Center and Domestic Violence Program are open, and hotlines are available 24/7 at 703-684-7273 [Sexual Assault Hotline] or 703-746-4911 [Domestic Violence Hotline]. Online support is also available with The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.
There are currently 44 cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, and no officers have exhibited symptoms yet, Brown said. Additionally, no one has yet been charged with violating the governor’s order, although police have been dispatched to speak with a number business owners who have illegally opened. Police have also prioritized non-emergency calls and taking care of as many as possible via phone to limit exposure to officers.
“It’s been a very stressful period for our folks. So far right now we’re doing fine and we hope the trend continues, but this is an invisible problem that we hope doesn’t affect our people,” he said. “We’re meeting our calls for service, and we hope that trend continues and we certainly hope that everyone uses the direction given to us by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], which we promulgated to our folks, and that is social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and the like.”
Brown said that officers have been issued initial supplies of personal protective equipment and that the department is working on getting more.
“It’s a challenge. We have backorders in place working through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to get additional assets,” he said. “Those are all being prioritized for medical professionals as well as first responders. We have a supply that’s already been issued we have a small reserve and we’re hoping that that will get us through until we get the additional equipment that we need.”
Brown said flexibility will be key for his officers in the days ahead, and that in his experience the only thing this pandemic comes close to is during the 1980s when he was a California Highway Patrol officer.
“I think the closest thing in my career that I recall is back in 1983, in California when the AIDS virus appeared, and there were a lot of unknowns with regards to that when it first came out, and we were always very concerned about protecting our law enforcement personnel, but this is different,” he said. “This is a different kind of virus, and it’s transmitted differently. It presents unique challenges for all of us first responders in terms of protecting our people and still making sure that we are able to respond to the needs of the community.”
Photo via Alexandria Police Department/Facebook
Virginia Congressman Don Beyer has been quarantined at home with his wife for nearly three weeks.
The three-term Democrat Congressman has been to Congress once in that time, to vote for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. He and his staff have been working up to 12 hours a day from their homes for weeks now.
Beyer announced on March 10 that he and his wife, Megan, would quarantine after having dinner in Old Town with a D.C. resident who later tested positive with COVID-19. Beyer and his wife are not currently symptomatic. Incidentally, Beyer’s grandfather, Otto Beyer, lost his first wife and young son in 1918 to the Spanish Flu, so for him the virus hits a personal note.
In a brief phone interview, Beyer told ALXnow that the next COVID-19 aid packages will help out state and local governments more, in addition to small businesses like gyms and assistance for trade associations.
ALXnow: How are you and your wife feeling?
Beyer: We’re been self-quarantined for 19 or 20 days now. It’s good. We’re trying to model the behavior that all of us should be doing to the extent possible.
ALXnow: The infected friend you and your wife had dinner with — how is he?
Beyer: He is recovering. His fever broke on his 77th birthday. And, interestingly, no one else that he was at the dinner party with seemed to get sick either. He did not prove to be a Typhoid Mary himself.
ALXnow: Since then you have been in isolation. Did you go to Congress to vote for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act?
Beyer: I went last Friday morning when we had the major CARES package, which provides for all the small businesses. I went to the Congress for that because we weren’t sure we thought we would need a quorum, which in this case is 215 members of Congress. So I felt that, especially somebody who lived closer to Congress, I had a real responsibility to show up. I didn’t want my older colleagues flying across the country, and risking getting COVID-19 on an airplane.
I waited in my car in the parking lot until it was my turn to come speak on the floor. It was really interesting to be in Congress that day because people would speak 30 seconds or a minute, and then would retreat to the far recesses of the upper gallery or in the far corners. Everyone was trying to be on their best germ-free behavior.
ALXnow: When are you going back to work on Capitol Hill?
Beyer: Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, said don’t plan on coming back to Congress in person until April 20. We’re still working 12-to-14 hour days right now. I can’t tell you how many conference calls I’ve been on today. In fact, we just got off one for an hour long with 340 nonprofits in Alexandria and Falls Church, talking about how they can access the small business loans. Tomorrow night [April 1] we’ll have a town hall meeting from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., and one we had last week had 3,000 people on it.
ALXnow: How can residents and businesses take advantage of the CARES Act?
Beyer: Any small business with fewer than 500 employees and nonprofit will be able to go to their bank and apply for the Small Business Administration 100% fully-funded government-guaranteed loan. So no credit applications, and if you maintain your employment base the government will forgive it, which means 0.5% interest rates and the first payment isn’t for six months. There’s a really a wonderful deal, and then if you make less than $75,000, or $150,000 per couple, you also get the direct payment of 1,200 dollars plus $500 for each child. My guess is that there will be more coming in subsequent packages. This is just a one-time payment.
ALXnow: What other legislation will need to be enacted at the Federal level?
Beyer: We’re already on package number four, which will be addressing a lot more help for state and local governments. Probably begin to think about infrastructure. We also were looking at things we left out of the legislation. For example, we didn’t do anything to help trade associations, and we have a lot of trade associations in Arlington and Alexandria. We didn’t do anything to help fitness clubs. All these places that are closed down aren’t getting any help.
ALXnow: What can the federal government do to expand the availability of testing at the local level?
Beyer: There are the best scientists all over the country, all over the world, trying to figure out how to make tests that test quickly that are readily available and that are affordable. It’s very frustrating that little South Korea has tested tens of thousands of people. We were caught flat-footed, and we don’t have to be pointing fingers of blame, we just were. Now we just have to struggle to catch up and be better prepared in the future. My wife and I haven’t been tested yet, and there are a lot of breakthroughs happening. I really do think there’s gonna be more good news and bad news.
ALXnow: Speaker Pelosi mentioned the possible repeal on the SALT [state and local tax deductions] cap. Where do you stand on that?
Beyer: I do support it. It’s hit our district very very hard. The fundamental issue is fairness. We had state and local taxes long before we had a federal income tax. It’s always been deductible. I’ve seen numbers that people in Alexandria have had their net tax bills go up $5,000, because they can’t deduct their state and local taxes. I was a co-sponsor of the bill to repeal it, which has already passed the house.
ALXnow: Does Governor Northam’s stay at home order go far enough?
Beyer: Yeah, I think it put us in sync with Maryland and with Washington DC. I was thrilled that he closed the colleges and universities especially Liberty, which I think was the poster child for irrationality and danger to public health. I also thought that his limiting groups to two or three people and asking people to stay at home is very responsible. We’ve learned from Italy and, to a lesser extent from China andSouth Korea, that the sooner we act, the flatter the curve, the fewer people get sick.
ALXnow: The White House is saying upward of 200,000 Americans may be killed by this. That’s more deaths than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Vietnam and Korea combined. Is this the administration’s fault, or was this catastrophe unavoidable as it seems the entire world was unprepared?
Beyer: It was definitely not unavoidable. People have been warning about this for years, that the long-term thinkers have been aware that pandemics come and go, and that we were overdue… You can hold Donald Trump to task for ignoring it for the first couple of months and hoping it would just go away. But the long term impact, we only have American policymakers to blame, and my hope is that we should never be this unprepared again.
ALXnow: As far as the November election goes, primaries are being pushed back. What are Democrats talking about with the national convention in Milwaukee in July?
Beyer: One of the things we didn’t get done in this CARES bill was voting at home, the ability to mail in ballots. A number of states have it like Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and they do really well with it. I’m hoping that in the fourth or fifth coronavirus package that we are able to provide the idea of voting at home. The convention — I have no idea. It sort of depends on where we are in the pandemic.
We’ll still almost certainly have a nominating process of some kind. For example, the 8th District Nominating Convention, has been cancelled as an in-person event but it could still happen virtually, or it may happen through mail. We’re all adapting like crazy right now. We’re finding ways to make things happen, and my hope is that in November that we will be able to vote in person.
We just have to take it a day at a time. We’re learning new things every day, not just about the virus but about our culture and how it works and how we adapt. I’ve always felt that one of the marks of the most successful people is that they are the most adaptive.
ALXnow: How is this pandemic going to change our lives?
Beyer: In the case of 9/11, in a country with 300 million people, if we all made 10 small changes in our lives it meant three billion changes and we haven’t had any major attacks since. So, we will make the same kind of changes now, and that will reduce the likelihood the frequency the impact of the next novel virus.
Noah Lyles Relieved Olympics Postponed — “It was a little relief to see that it’s been decided to postpone the Olympics because my first concern was that everybody would be healthy and everybody would have a fair place to compete.” [Running Magazine]
Former Medical Employees Plead Guilty to Running ‘Pill Mill’ — “Two women pleaded guilty yesterday [March 30] for their respective roles in helping run a “pill mill,” which led to the fraudulent dispensing of thousands of prescription opioid pills.” [DOJ]
Trader Joe’s in Old Town is Hiring — “At Trader Joe’s we are working diligently to support our communities and ensure our customers have access to food and necessary household staples during this time. To those who have found their hours limited or jobs placed on hold, we invite you to apply to join our Crew until your employer is able to welcome you back.” [Indeed]
‘The People’s Drug’ Makes Lunches For Industry Workers — “40 bag lunches – GONE! We’re doing our part to feed as many laid off industry folks that we can. Stay tuned for more info on how to grab a bag lunch in the coming days. Not posting this for a “thank you”…but more so to alert our industry fam in need! In the meantime – yes we’re open for curbside pick up and delivery via @UberEats.” [Facebook]
Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Gala Canceled — “The kids in Alexandria who come from families with financial need will feel the greatest economic impact from the COVID-19 crisis. Graduation and College are Coming. They need YOUR Support Now More than Ever!” [Facebook]
Free Parenting Therapy and Support Group Launches — “This is a free therapist-led group, but donations are graciously accepted for those volunteering their time to lead thoughtful discussion, provide support, and even some light-hearted distractions. 25% of all donations received will go to small businesses in need from the Alexandria community.” [Facebook]
Beverley Hills Residents Adorn Homes With Art — “Every Wednesday, neighbors decorate their windows, porches and front yards with artwork based around a specific theme. Then, throughout the day, kids and their parents can walk the neighborhood to admire the displays and hunt for hidden art.” [Alex Times]
Where/When Seniors Should Shop For Groceries — “Vulnerable customers should avoid shopping in person at all and make use of delivery services or volunteers when possible. If in-person shopping is necessary, customers and staff should stay six feet apart from each other, wash hands frequently, and disinfect shared surfaces like shopping cart handles.” [Zebra]
The number of COVID-19 cases in the city is now at 44 — an increase of eight cases since March 29.
The Alexandria Health Department announced the new number of cases on the city website on Tuesday, March 31.
The city released the following statement:
On March 31, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed eight additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 44. AHD is identifying and contacting individuals who came in close contact with the confirmed cases. The close contacts will be asked to self-quarantine and actively monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms. If they start experiencing symptoms, they will immediately undergo testing. As a result of the AHD’s case investigations and expanded testing through private providers, the number of positive cases is expected to continue to increase.
There are currently 1250 cases of COVID-19 and 27 deaths in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
The city is encouraging the public to donate personal protective equipment to the fire and police departments. Additionally, volunteers are needed with the Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps to support the health department in the city’s preparedness and response efforts. More ways to help can also be found with Volunteer Alexandria.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that the Alexandria Fire Department does business.
While there are currently no AFD personnel who have exhibited symptoms, the department is responding to an uptick in COVID-19-related emergency calls.
“We’re definitely seeing more calls for fever and body aches, but it hasn’t been an exponential increase,” Deputy Fire Chief Brian Hricik told ALXnow. “It’s been four or five, maybe even six calls a day where it’s flu like symptoms is what we’re looking for — the cough, body aches, fevers, those types of things. We might go to a residence for somebody that’s having a heart attack, and if the family member that’s sitting right next to them is coughing and sneezing, and within six feet of us, then we need to be prepared to protect ourselves.”
Hricik is the deputy planning section chief for the city’s Emergency Operations Center, and coordinates response efforts for the fire department, the Alexandria Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office.
Fire Chief Corey Smedley says Hricik is the man for the job.
“One of my first decisions as Fire Chief was to promote Deputy Chief Hricik,” Smedley told ALXnow. “He has been with the department for 23 years and continues to show great leadership and knowledge. He has been leading our efforts to ensure the safety of our members and our community throughout this pandemic. Hricik cares about AFD and the Alexandria community, so he’s the right person for the job especially during these uncertain times.”
There are currently 36 cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria.
Hricik said that first responders are wearing personal protective equipment, distancing themselves from patients and taking minimal equipment into buildings. He also said that 911 operators are screening callers to determine if they are symptomatic, and AFD staff are routinely taking their temperatures and changing clothes.
“EMS is not generally great with responding to flu-like emergencies and protecting ourselves. We’ll often run catch coughs, sneezes, sniffles on a routine basis, especially when flu season starts,” he said. “Now we’re much more purposely moving forward in a slower pace to say, okay, we’re going to send one person in and start asking questions probably at that 10-to-six-foot mark away from the patient or for family members and start asking questions about what’s happening, how we can help, what are the symptoms that they’re having and those types of things. If they have a cough or if they’ve had a fever, we’re handing them a surgical mask to put on themselves first, and then we also have on all of our gowns, gloves, goggles and masks.”
Hricik said the city’s first responders and law enforcement are now rationing personal protective equipment.
“I think right now we have a handle on what we have in stock. We’ve put some measures in place so that we’re not wasteful with it,” he said. “If we end up getting a New York-style expansion, then there’s no way we’re going to survive on what we have.”
Hricik said that the biggest challenge for the department is the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“We’re trying to plan. If we have one patient, our response looks like this, if we have 10 patients, then our response looks different,” he said. “There’s 140,000 to 150,000 people in the city of Alexandria, and if everybody ended up getting it, how do we deal with that? How do we prepare for that? If we have 40 [infected] people in the city and that’s our top number, then I’m confident we’ve got it under control. If we end up having 40,000 people in the city, and that’s our top number, that’s a completely different ballgame.”
Photo via Alexandria Fire Department/Facebook
Carpenter’s Shelter is working through the COVID-19 pandemic without its cadre of volunteers, and people are now staying at Alexandria’s largest homeless shelter for longer periods of time, according to the organization’s executive director.
“The days have been long and the challenge is great, but the best perspective on all of this is that our work and our mission has never felt more critical than it does right now,” Carpenter’s Shelter Executive Director Shannon Steene told ALXnow. “We are seeing more people in the shelter for longer periods of time, and all in the context of asking our volunteers not to be volunteering at the shelter for the health and safety of our residents.”
The pandemic has forced Carpenter’s Shelter — located at the vacated Macy’s department store at Landmark Mall — to ask its 1,200 volunteers to stay home, and Steene’s staff of 25 employees are going outside their job descriptions to make sure that the organization’s 60-bed emergency shelter remains operational and that the virus does not make its way in. Carpenter’s Shelter is also still operating its hypothermia shelter.
Steene said that Carpenter’s Shelter needs grocery store gift cards for individuals and families and hand sanitizer. He also said that residents and staff are taking daily temperature checks.
“We have deputized staff and residents as wipe down warriors, so there’s a lot of wiping of any touched surfaces going on,” he said. “
Usually there are upward of 20 volunteers working at Carpenter’s Shelter every day –out of 1200 volunteers — and Steene said this is the first time in the organization’s history that volunteers have not helped weather a crisis.
“We have had winter storms where five staff members have stayed in the building for 52 hours at one stretch just making sure that everything is safe and suitable for the residents, but this is the first time in our organizational life that we haven’t had volunteers in the shelter,” he said. “And I’ve got to say that our volunteers are embedded in our culture and the energy. We look forward to when all of this is under our control and seeing those volunteers come back into our work. They’re the lifeblood of what we do.”
There are Now 36 Cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria — “On March 30, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed four additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 36. AHD is identifying and contacting individuals who came in close contact with the confirmed cases.” [City of Alexandria]
DASH Further Reduces Service — “As part of a wider effort to protect the health and safety of the Alexandria community and DASH employees, DASH implemented an Enhanced Sunday Operating Plan on weekdays and Saturdays, beginning March 30. No changes are anticipated to Sunday service; however, King Street Trolley service will discontinue until further notice.” [DASH]
Old Town Books Launches GoFundMe Campaign — “You’re making it possible for us to make ends meet while our sales floor is closed and before the new SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans roll out. I didn’t know what to expect when starting this fundraiser – crowd funding is not something I *ever* expected to do for this business. But this fundraiser is helping keep our staff working and our online store open. It’s motivating us to keep trying, to keep working despite the bleak economic projections for the year. We’re not giving up. Thank you for your support!” [Facebook]
Mason & Greens Grocer Opens in Old Town — “It’s not the grand opening they were planning, but the new bulk grocer in Old Town, Mason & Greens, is now open. For now, Mason & Greens is offering online shopping for pick-up or delivery.” [Alexandria Living]
ACPS Unveils Story Hour For Younger Students — “It’s such fun to see all these famous faces reading for America’s children in this time of need and we are grateful that some publishers are allowing us to publish read-alouds on the website at this time.” [ACPS]
Little Theatre of Alexandria Issuing Refunds — “Please submit this form before Friday, April 10. For Moonlight and Magnolias and Blue Stockings, we will not be able to process refunds after Thursday, April 30.” [LTA]
Ascend Cycle Offering Virtual Classes — “Virtual high fives! While we can’t be together in person, this is the next best thing! You see us & we see you! Connect with your favorite instructor and friends live while breaking a sweat! We are offering daily live virtual classes designed to connect our community and provide personalized attention. Drop into class for just $10.” [Ascend Cycle]