Newsletter

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Alexandria and its neighbors ahead of snow expected tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

The advisory is set for 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday morning, with the city expected to get two-three inches of snow in the morning with a chance for more in the afternoon.

If it does snow, it will be the third snow of the year for Alexandria. The city received a fairly light dusting this past weekend that followed a severe snowstorm earlier this month.

See the full advisory below:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 1 PM EST
THURSDAY…

* WHAT…Snow. Snow accumulations of up to two inches with locally
higher amounts around three inches possible.

* WHERE…The District of Columbia, portions of central, northern
and southern Maryland, and central and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…From 6 AM to 1 PM EST Thursday.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous
conditions will impact the morning commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Precipitation will start as rain and then
switch over to snow during the Thursday morning commute.
Instructions: Slow down and use caution while traveling. When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.
Target Area:
Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria
Fairfax
Prince William, Manassas, Manassas Park
Southern Fauquier
Spotsylvania
Stafford

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Despite high numbers of new COVID-19 infections, Alexandria City Public Schools plan on fully reopening from winter break on Monday, Jan. 3.

“ACPS continues to use the current health and safety guidelines provided on our 2021-22 Health & Safety Guidance web page,” Julie Crawford, ACPS Chief of Student Services and Equity, told ALXnow. “At present, there is no change to our return plans after winter break.”

As of today (Wednesday, Dec. 29), there have been 18,319 cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, which is an increase of 505 cases since Monday, according to the Virginia Department of Health. There were 174 cases of COVID-19 reported in ACPS in December, and 411 total cases reported since school started in August.

The seven-day average of daily new cases in the city is now 261, up from 248 on Monday. The number of deaths has risen by four to 161, although the Alexandria Health Department says the new fatalities were city residents who died out of state in 2020.

Just as with Thanksgiving, the Alexandria Health Department recommends avoiding crowds, getting COVID-tested three-to-five days after returning from the winter holiday and getting vaccinated.

Additionally, the Alexandria Health Department released the following quarantine guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • For people who are unvaccinated or not recently vaccinated (more than six months after their second mRNA dose or more than two months after the J&J vaccine), CDC now recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days. If the recommended five-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have received their booster shot or are recently vaccinated (less than six months after their second mRNA dose or less than two months after the J&J vaccine) do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for ten days after the exposure.
  • For anyone who is exposed, is it best to get tested for COVID-19 on the fifth day after the last known exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms that symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
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The days of making offerings to ancient winter deities in hopes of summoning a snow day could be a thing of the past for Alexandria students. Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) said in a newsletter last week that the schools may continue virtual learning for various winter weather conditions.

ACPS said in a newsletter that school buildings may close as usual, but instruction will continue virtually at home, Alexandria Living Magazine first reported.

“When winter weather (snow, ice or extreme cold temperatures) occurs, and buses cannot safely transport students to and from school, it may be necessary for ACPS to close school buildings and provide at-home virtual instruction under these circumstances,” ACPS said in the newsletter. “Our goal is to support continuity of learning while also preserving any future days when schools may need to close.”

ACPS said it would endeavor to make a decision about closing schools the evening prior to severe winter weather, if possible.

“ACPS attempts to make school closure decisions the evening prior to a winter weather event, taking into consideration that families and staff need time to make proper arrangements,” ACPS said. “However, when there is a lot of uncertainty around a winter weather forecast, we will wait to get the latest morning forecast and road condition update from the City of Alexandria emergency management staff. When we are unable to make a decision the evening prior to the potential weather event, the superintendent will make the decision about whether to close school buildings and provide at-home virtual instruction for students by approximately 5:00 a.m. In either case, families and staff will receive regular updates via the ACPS website.”

The newsletter encouraged students to take their computers/devices home at the end of the school day to have at-home for virtual learning.

Snow days aren’t the only change coming for the school system. Last Thursday, the Alexandria School Board also talked through additional scheduling changes for the upcoming 2022-2024 school years. One of the changes currently proposed would add in more flexibility to recognize Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali and Eid al-Adha. Though Juneteenth doesn’t fall on a school day, staff at the School Board meeting said it would still be recognized as a holiday

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Shelter interior, photo via Carpenter’s Shelter/Facebook

Carpenter’s Shelter opened its winter shelters yesterday as a warm refuge for locals experiencing homelessness.

According to a press release from the city, the Winter Shelters are open from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. regardless of the weather. The shelter opened yesterday (Wednesday) through March 31.

There are two shelters: one for individuals and one for families.

The individual shelter at 2355 Mill Street serves individual adults. The family shelter is at 930 N. Henry Street.

There are also transportation options available at three locations:

  • 6:20 p.m. at City Hall (301 King Street)
  • 6:30 p.m. at Braddock Road Metro Station
  • 6:40 p.m. at Christ house (131 South West Street)

The city’s website also has information for directing those experiencing homelessness to city services:

If you have engaged the individual in conversation and learn that they are in need of supportive services, let them know they can call 703.746.5700 or text 703.346.5599 or walk-in for services at 2525 Mount Vernon Ave. during business hours. Staff will support them by identifying the next steps in assisting them with their current situation. Once screened, individuals will be added to the waitlist and referred once a bed is available at Alexandria Community Shelter or Carpenter’s Shelter. During the winter months, let them know about the City’s Winter Shelter Program run by Carpenter’s Shelter (703.548.7500), which is open daily from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. through March 2021. You can also share with them the Alexandria Community Resources Card, also available as an easy-to-print two-sided flyer.

If you aren’t comfortable engaging in conversion,  contact Alex 311 to report your observations; please refrain from taking photos of residents experiencing homelessness out of respect for their privacy. Your report will be sent to DCHS staff, who will go out and speak to the person within 24-48 business hours and offer available support and resources. DCHS values individual personal choice and does not force services on anyone, but staff work hard to ensure everyone is aware of the supportive services with the City and their right to access them and transition out of homelessness.

For more immediate welfare checks, call the police non-emergency line at 703.746.4444.

Photo via Carpenter’s Shelter/Facebook

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Winter Village, photo via NOVA Parks

This weekend, Cameron Run Regional Park reopened Winter Village, an annual transformation of the water park into a winter-themed experience complete with ice skating.

The theme for Winter Village this year is ‘Ice and Lights‘, with various lit-up displays around the village for gawking and taking photos.

Admission with one hour of skating is $22.03 and only available for purchase online. Admission to just the village part, sans skating, is $9.19. Children under 2 are admitted for free.

“Skating ticket sales have been significantly reduced in order to provide a safe experience on the ice,” Cameron Run Regional Park said on the Winter Village website. “Please be advised that spectators will be limited in the ice rink area. Only children under the age of 12 may have one chaperone in the ice rink are — benches are provided for putting on and removing skates only. All skate sessions include free skate rentals. There is no discount if you bring your own skates this year.”

The program is scheduled to run from Nov. 19 to Jan. 2, from 5-10 p.m. every day. The ice skating rink at the park will remain open until Feb. 27.

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For the second Sunday in a row, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until noon in Alexandria and the surrounding area, as the city is expected to receive up to three inches of snow.

“Plan on slippery road conditions,” NWS said in its alert on Sunday morning. “Visibility will be reduced to around one- quarter mile at times through late this morning. Temperatures will rise well above freezing this afternoon, but temperatures will fall quickly below freezing this evening.”

NWS recommends slowing down and using caution while traveling.

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Updated at 4:45 p.m. — A winter weather advisory remains in effect throughout the day, as the City was blanketed with snow on Sunday. Up to two more inches are expected overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow shut down in-person schools and non-emergency city staff are allowed to telework.

The city also opened warming centers at recreation centers late. The warming centers are intended to help poor residents cope with the cold temperatures.

The city released the following:

  • Closed: Chinquapin Recreation Center
    Mon Feb 1, 2021 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM
    Location: Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility, 3210 King St.
  • Closed: Warming Centers
    Mon Feb 1, 2021 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
    Location: All City Recreation Centers
  • CANCELLED: Board of Zoning Appeals
    Mon Feb 8, 2021 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Location: City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 King St.

According to NWS:

* WHAT...Mixed precipitation. Additional snow accumulations of
  up to one inch and ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an
  inch.

* WHERE...The District of Columbia, portions of central Maryland,
  northern and northwest Virginia and eastern West Virginia.

* WHEN...Until midnight EST tonight.

* IMPACTS...Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous
  conditions could impact the evening commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Slow down and use caution while traveling.

When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on
steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery,
increasing your risk of a fall and injury.

https://twitter.com/patpend/status/1356180396535406594

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Morning Notes

ACPS In-Person School Called Off Monday, Virtual Learning Still Happening — “WEATHER ALERT: For Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, ACPS buildings are closed for all. Virtual learning to continue. Food distribution and child care at ACPS buildings canceled.” [Twitter]

Warming Centers Open in Alexandria Until Feb. 5 — “Due to forecasted cooler weather, the city of Alexandria will offer warming centers Friday through Feb. 5 to provide relief from the cold for community members who may not have access to a warm shelter during the day.” [Patch]

Former Mayor Allison Silberberg Not Running — “While the mayoral role is considered part-time, in my experience being Mayor is more than a full-time job. I have been torn between running for office or pursuing new opportunities that are before me now. While these new opportunities will allow me to continue to make a difference and serve others, they would not allow me to serve as Mayor in the way I believe our residents expect and deserve. And so, it is with a heavy heart and mixed emotions that at this time I have decided not to run for Mayor.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy with rain and snow in the morning, light snow in the afternoon. Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of precip 70%. About one inch of snow expected. Variably cloudy with snow showers (in the evening). Low 32F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 50%. About one inch of snow expected.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Salon Coordinator/Receptionist — “PR at Partners in Old Town is seeking a part-time professional and motivated individual for our front desk receptionist position. This position is responsible for delivering exceptional client service while successfully managing this busy salon’s schedule. An ideal candidate would enjoy working with many types of people and provide service with a smile.” [Indeed]

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The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in Alexandria and the surrounding area, as the city is expected to receive four to eight inches of snow on Sunday and Monday.

“The steadiest snow will fall through this afternoon before tapering off to an intermittent mix of light snow, sleet, and freezing rain,” NWS said in its alert on Sunday morning. “Additional snow is expected Monday through Monday night with additional accumulations most likely around one to three inches, bringing the storm total accumulations around four to eight inches.”

NWS recommends carrying an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency if you must travel.

Rain and snow are expected to continue into Monday morning. Less than an inch of snow is expected.

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High winds are expected in Alexandria today, as the National Weather Service has issued a gale warning for the city and surrounding area.

That means it’s going to be a gusty day with sustained winds ranging from 39-54 miles per hour.

The advisory was issued just after 5 a.m. and includes the the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay, tidal Potomac River, and Interstate 95 corridor through Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and central Maryland.

Nearly half the country is under a winter weather advisory as storms are expected throughout the East Coast this week.

“There is an enhanced winter storm threat for Sunday (during the day) and Sunday night, with a slight winter storm threat through Monday night. If the threat materializes, it may cause travel disruptions,” according to NWS.

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