Alexandria, VA

The Alexandria City Public Schools will not be tracking student attendance for online learning during its month-long COVID-19 shutdown.

Alexandria City Public Schools announced on Friday that all schools would close until April 14 — after spring break. Every elementary school student was given instructional packets to take home, and students in grades 3-12 went home with Chromebook laptops.

“I don’t think you can [track attendance], except to see if students have completed assignments,” ACPS spokeswoman Helen Lloyd told ALXnow. “The goal of this is not grading assignments, but continuity of learning.”

There are more than 15,700 students in the school system, which will be putting out staff updates at noon every day and notices to families every day at 1 p.m. in ACPS Express. Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. will also be hosting a webinar at 3 p.m. during the week.

“We are in close communication with the state superintendent and working through what we would need to do to ensure that our students are getting the right number of days and hours in terms of instruction this year,” Lloyd said. “We may be using some snow days, and we may require a waiver [from the Virginia Department of Education to not make up] our days and hours that have been missed.”

Throughout Monday morning and afternoon, Alexandria City Public School staff also started the now-daily process of handing out meals at the Chinquapin Drive side of T.C. Williams High School to students, regardless of their eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.

ACPS instruction includes three daily half-hour documentaries from the Smithsonian’s “Science How” and “Stem in 30” series documentaries that will be screened on a 24-hour loop on ACPS TV. The schedule includes “Mummy Science – Natural and Cultural Preserved Remains” and “Live from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.” School staff are also in talks with publishing houses to acquire the rights to works that teachers could read to students on ACPS TV, Lloyd said.

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Morning Notes

Port City Brewing Co. Closes Tasting Room — “Effective Sunday, March 15, 2020, we will be closing our Tasting Room until further notice. We are doing this to help the community try to get a handle on the spread of Coronavirus.”[Facebook]

ACPS Provides Food Access Update — “Starting Monday, Alexandria City Public Schools will be providing emergency meals at no cost for any child under 18 and any family who needs it.” [ACPS]

DASH Modifies Bus Routes — “Beginning Thursday, March 19, DASH will operate on an “Enhanced Saturday” schedule weekdays in order to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 among our employees, riders and community.” [DASH]

Alexandria Library Open, Taking Social Distancing Measures — “As of Saturday, March 14, 2020 the Alexandria Library will be canceling all Library programs, events, outreach activities, passport services, proctoring, and meeting room reservations through Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Meeting rooms will not be available for use. Computers and seating will be reconfigured, with fewer available for use.” [Alexandria Library]

Recreation Dept. Suspends Events Until March 21 — “All indoor programs, classes and activities produced by RPCA are suspended Saturday, March 14 through Saturday, March 21. This includes afterschool programming and the Out of School Time program. Credits will be issued for any missed activities during this time. Throughout the one week programming break, RPCA will continue to evaluate which services can be offered going forward and will provide an update prior to March 21.” [RPCA]

‘Maximum Telework’ for Federal Employees — “OPM Finally Announces: ‘Federal offices in the Washington, DC area status: Open with maximum telework flexibilities.'” [PoPville]

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(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Traffic is slow from Seminary Road to Duke Street after a crash and reported medical emergency in the southbound lanes of I-395.

The incident was reported shortly before 11 a.m., underneath the Duke Street overpass. Initial reports suggest that a driver suffered a medical emergency and crashed. It was not immediately clear whether how many other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Virginia State Police, along with Alexandria and Arlington firefighters and medics, rushed to the scene. First responders arriving on scene reported that they were performing CPR on the driver.

As of 11:15 a.m. two lefthand lanes of I-395 were blocked by the emergency activity.

A second crash along I-395 in the same area, involving a sedan and a dump truck, was reported just prior to 11:30 a.m.

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