COVID-19 in Virginia

On March 7, 2020 the first case of COVID-19 in the state of Virginia was confirmed at Fort Belvoir.[1] As cases continued to rise in the state and in the country, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in the commonwealth just five days later. By March 23rd, the commonwealth had 258 confirmed cases and mostly everything had shut down. At the end of the month, the Governor issued a stay-at-home order effective until June 10th.

 

[1] https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/news/2020-news-releases/first-virginia-case-of-covid-19-confirmed-at-fort-belvoir/

Virginia 

On April 12th, Governor Northam announced the state’s reopening plan, Forward Virginia. It is a phased plan to reopening the state that complies with CDC guidelines and meant to contain the spread of the virus in the state. The blueprint emphasizes expanded testing. The plan consists of three phases with each phase easing more restrictions. Most of the state moved to Phase I on May 15th, Phase II on June 5th, and Phase III on July 1st.

  • According to the Virginia Department of Health, as of July 13th, there are 71,642 cases in the state. The figure includes confirmed and probable cases. Richmond City, specifically, has 2,432 cases.

  • The current seven-day average of positive tests is 6.8%.​​

Richmond

While the rest of the state moved on to Phase I on May 15th, cities in Northern Virginia and Richmond had a two-week delay. Mayor Levar Stoney asked for the delay in implementation because at the time the city was experiencing an increase in positive cases. Richmond moved to Phase I on May 29th. There was also a delay in entering Phase II. Most of the state entered Phase II on June 5th, the city of Richmond moved into the phase on June 12th. One July 1st, Richmond entered Phase III of the Governor’s pla​n.

Richmond Public Schools

When Governor Northam declared a state of emergency, Richmond Public Schools announced a two-week closure. In his March 23rd corona virus update the Governor confirmed that all schools in the state would remain closed until the end of the academic year. Students in the city who did not have the resources to move fully online were given a laptop and hotspots by the district. RPS also had meal distribution for students and their families, it is still ongoing during the summer as well. According to the RPS website, there will be a fully virtual fall semester for the upcoming school year. No decision has been made for the spring.

These are the five plans the school board was considering:

Plan A

  • A fully virtual option PLUS

  • A hybrid option that includes 2 days of in-person instruction and 3 days of virtual instruction each week PLUS

  • 5 days of in-person instruction each week for students with greater academic needs (e.g., certain students with IEPs and certain English Learners)

 

Plan B

  • A fully virtual option PLUS

  • A fully in-person option

 

Plan C

  • A fully in-person option for elementary students PLUS

  • A fully virtual option for elementary students PLUS

  • Only a fully virtual option for middle school and secondary students

 

Plan D

  • A fully in-person option for certain high-need students PLUS

  • Only a fully virtual option for everyone else

 

Plan E

  • Only a fully virtual option for the first semester

Superintendent Jason Kamras has stated that no RPS employee will be forced to work in person and that families will have a fully virtual option, no matter what plan is chosen.

On July 6th, Governor Northam announced phased guidance for schools to re-open for the upcoming schools year. His recommendation consists of three phases of reopening. Schools are required to submit a plan to the Virginia Department of Education that is complaint with guidelines and prioritizes public health and safety.

More Information

Resources

  • https://www.rvastrong.org/

    • A website that connects Richmonders to local resources

  • https://richmondvamoms.com/cloth-face-masks-online/

    • This links to the Richmond VA Moms blog which currently has a list of where you can buy masks online

  • Instagram: @masksforrichmond​

    • A student at the University of Richmond is opening a small business selling masks. ​There will an option to purchase "donation masks" that will be distributed to vulnerable populations.