Tysons Reporter’s parent company, Local News Now, is proud to announce three new full-time hires.
These hires, two of which are for newly-created positions, are made possible by a strong recovery in LNN’s advertising business since the depths of the pandemic-induced recession. We were further emboldened to add to our team, despite uncertainty about the economy and the pandemic, by our Patreon community and the support provided by readers.
The new hires will allow us to improve the breadth and depth of our local journalism, while also strengthening our increasingly-popular sponsored content offerings.
Angela Woolsey is joining us as the new Tysons Reporter editor, replacing Catherine Douglas Moran, who is now an Associate Editor at Industry Dive. Angela was formerly a general assignment reporter for the Fairfax County Times.
Jo DeVoe is joining us as a reporter and copy editor for ARLnow and Tysons Reporter. She joins us from Hearst newspapers in Connecticut, including the Greenwich Time, where she primarily reported on education.
Carson Kohler will be joining the team on Nov. 2 as our new Content Marketing Manager, helping advertising clients maximize their sponsored content investment with us and better engage our readers. She is currently a writer with The Penny Hoarder.
Additionally, Scott Fields will be joining us as a part-time contributor, providing coverage for both our Arlington and our Fairfax County sites.
Thank you to our Northern Virginia and D.C. communities for your support and readership. We look forward to continuing to find ways to better serve you.
Falls Church and Fairfax County officials are revisiting efforts to rename schools with names linked to the Confederacy as communities across the U.S. tackle a racial reckoning.
The resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of police killing George Floyd in Minneapolis has reignited discussions of how buildings, monuments and places with Confederate ties perpetuate racial oppression.
The push to remove names and images linked to the Confederacy at local schools isn’t new.
Fairfax County officials renamed JEB Stuart High School to Justice High School in 2017, with students changing the mascot in 2018. Fairfax High School’s principal changed the mascot this year. A few weeks ago, the Fairfax County School Board voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School to honor late U.S. Congressman John Lewis.
Tysons Reporter looked into how the two public school systems have tackled the renaming issue this summer and what’s coming up for schools in the Tysons area.
Falls Church Moving Forward With Renamings
After several meetings and hundreds of public comments, the Falls Church City School Board made the decision to move forward with renaming George Mason High School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in late June. Both Founding Fathers were slaveholders.
A few months ago, a petition with more than 250 signatures and growing public pressure prompted the school board to start considering the name changes in the second week of June.
“We’re at a point where it’s time to really begin the conversation,” Greg Anderson, the school board’s chair, said at a school board meeting this summer.
One of the biggest renaming questions the school board tackled is whether or not to hire a consultant to aid in the process, with some members saying it was a good idea in order to maintain neutrality and to gather more information about Mason and Jefferson and others pointing out the costs.
“Lots of folks don’t really know the history of who he is,” School Board member Lawrence Webb said about Mason.
The school board resolved that dilemma this week by voting to hire Herndon-based K-12 Insight to conduct the surveys, the Falls Church News-Press reported.
Now that the school board has approved moving forward with the renaming process, they will need to decide what the new names will be.
The school board wants to make sure the renaming process isn’t rushed, agreeing that it’s important to get many perspectives on this issue.
“I think we need to take our time so we know what the community has to say,” said Susan Dimock. Read More
Labor Day is almost here — and the end of pool season.
While swimming in the pool or lounging nearby are popular summer activities, the coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on swimsuit season, unless you have a private pool or know someone who does.
Fairfax County didn’t allow public indoor and outdoor swimming pools to reopen until mid-June only for lap swimming, diving, exercise and instruction.
Then when Phase 3 guidelines went into effect on July 1, public pools could allow up to 75% occupancy with 10 feet of physical distance between users who are not from the same household. Public hot tubs, spas, saunas and spray pools are still closed though.
“This guidance applies to all community pools, including those operated by apartment and condominium complexes, recreation centers, homeowner’s associations and swim clubs,” according to Fairfax County’s website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they don’t have evidence that the novel coronavirus can be spread in the water.
“Plus, proper operation of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds (such as at an apartment complex or owned by a community) and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus,” according to the CDC.
When we asked readers in June how they felt about using public pools, roughly 40% said they wouldn’t because of COVID-19 concerns, while 36% said they would.
With Labor Day soon marking the unofficial end to summer, we want to know if you have been to the pool. Let us know in the poll below and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo by Toni Cuenca/Unsplash
School is starting again for kids in the Tysons area, leading parents and educators to not just focus on possible health risks from COVID-19, but also from students who haven’t gotten their required vaccines.
Even though it’s starting the new school year off virtually, Fairfax County Public Schools is requiring all of its students to be up-to-date on required immunizations.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found indications that fewer kids are getting immunizations — possibly due to parents’ worries that their kids will catch COVID-19 at the doctor’s office.
In addition to COVID-19 concerns, some parents are now worried if vaccine-preventable diseases pose a new threat from unvaccinated kids, National Geographic reported.
The CDC said in July that health care providers seem to have the capacity to give kids their routine vaccinations.
Fairfax County officials are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated. This summer, the county expanded its number of community childhood vaccination clinics and the hours for the clinics offering the school-required Tdap vaccine.
Let us know in the poll and comments below if your kids have all their required vaccinations for the new school year.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
After delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, several new films are hitting the screens at newly-reopened movie theaters.
“Tenet,” “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Bill & Ted Face The Music” are some of the films poised to hit theaters soon.
Gov. Ralph Northam forced movie theaters to close in the spring, but under Phase Three, which started July 1, movie theaters can open at 50% capacity.
Let us know in the poll and comments below if you are comfortable heading to movie theaters again.
Photo by Corina Rainer/Unsplash
As families, educators and school systems grapple with how to return to school during the coronavirus pandemic, some parents are turning to “learning pods” this fall.
Learning pods — also known as “pandemic pods” — are essentially micro-schools. Small groups of kids learn together in-person either from a tutor or parents.
A New York Times survey found that most of the families who said they plan to use learning pods said that they address both concerns about health risks at school and desire for in-person education.
Some local parents say that having multiple families chip in makes hiring a tutor more affordable and that the pods will make it easier for them to go back to work than if their kids were learning virtually.
However, the concept has raised questions about the wealth disparity with education.
Fairfax County Public Schools recently brought up concerns about “tutoring pods,” saying that the school system is declining requests from parents to have FCPS teachers lead their pods.
“While FCPS doesn’t and can’t control these private tutoring groups, we do have concerns that they may widen the gap in educational access and equity for all students,” the statement said. “Many parents cannot afford private instruction. Many working families can’t provide transportation to and from a tutoring pod, even if they could afford to pay for the service.”
Let us know in the poll and comments below what you think of learning pods.
Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash
“Shop local” has become a popular refrain during the pandemic as small businesses struggle with the economic fall-out and health risks from the coronavirus pandemic.
Several small businesses have permanently closed during the pandemic, but many have found ways to keep their doors from shutting. Owners have told Tysons Reporter over the last few months that affluent residents, loyal customers and community support give Tysons-area businesses advantages.
Fundraisers to support businesses’ operations and employees, social media efforts by residents to promote local eateries and loans and grants from the government also aim to keep small businesses alive.
Even as businesses grapple with the pandemic, many are giving back to the community.
Lebanese restaurants and shops are fundraising for relief efforts in Beirut. A Mosaic District dry cleaners turned into a mask factory. Local eateries are donating meals to help food-insecure people in Vienna. Falls Church Distillers switched to making hand sanitizer when there was a shortage in March.
Let Tysons Reporter know in the poll and comments below how much you have been spending at small businesses during the pandemic.
Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos/Unsplash
Local photographers have been out capturing what the Tysons area looks like this summer as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the D.C. region.
While Jay Westcott, the staff photographer for our parent company Local News Now, is off until September, we’ve had support from freelancer Michelle Goldchain and readers who volunteered to snap some photos for us.
During recent visits to the Town of Vienna and Tysons, Goldchain captured well-known spots, like the red caboose in Vienna and the Capital One tower in Tysons.
She also snapped some photos of activity, like the construction that is underway at Tysons Galleria. Her photos show that the pandemic hasn’t stopped people from exercising along the W&OD Trail.
Whether or not there are people inside, the office and hotel buildings are still gleaming in Tysons.
We’ve also had several readers send us photos. Over the last few weeks, Joanne Liebig has shared the flowers she’s spotted around Westpark and International drives in Tysons:
Thank you to everyone who has submitted photos!
(Updated 8:10 p.m.) Virginia has teamed up with Google and Apple to offer a smartphone app for COVID-19 exposure alerts, making it the first state in the U.S. to use the new technology.
COVIDWISE will notify users if they’ve been in close proximity to someone with COVID-19 by using Bluetooth Low Energy. The app is meant to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
When announcing the app yesterday, Gov. Ralph Northam said the app can help catch new cases sooner, especially since the virus can spread before infected people show symptoms.
“This is another tool we can have to protect ourselves, our families and our communities,” Northam said. “This is a way we can all work together to contain this virus.”
Once someone gets an alert, Northam encourages them to self-isolate and get tested. If the test is positive, he said that users can add that information into the app, which will then alert users that the person has recently been around.
More from Google Play about how the app works:
If someone reports to the app that they tested positive, the signals from their app will search for other app users who shared that signal. The BLE signals are date-stamped and the app estimates how close the two devices were based on signal strength. If the timeframe was at least 15 minutes and the estimated distance was within six feet, then the other user receives a notification of a possible exposure. No names! No location!
The BLE framework within COVIDWISE will run in the background, even if the exposure notification app is closed. It will not drain the device battery at a rate that would occur with other apps that use normal Bluetooth and/or are open and running constantly.
“I want to be clear, this app COVIDWISE does not — I’m going to repeat that, does not — track or store your personal information,” Northam said. “It does not track you at all. It does not rely on GPS or your personal information. While we want everyone to download it, it is voluntary.”
Let Tysons Reporter know in the poll and comments section below if you plan to download the app.
Earlier this week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced new regional restrictions to address a surge of COVID-19 cases in Hampton Roads.
The new restrictions, which go into effect today, lower the maximum number of people allowed at gatherings, limit late-night alcohol assumption at restaurants and cut back indoor dining for restaurants.
The eastern region’s beaches and non-compliance with public health guidelines and mandates appear to be some of the factors for why the area became a coronavirus hot spot.
While the eastern portion of the state has seen a rising number of cases, Northam noted that the percent positivity rates for Northern Virginia and the western region were below the statewide rate.
“There’s been a dramatic decrease in Northern Virginia,” Northam said, about the rate.
When asked by reporters earlier this week if he would consider domestic travel restrictions, Northam said that it’s an option he’s considering. Some states are asking travelers from “high-risk” states to self-quarantine following their arrival.
Let us know in the poll and comments section below if you think Northam’s regional effort is sufficient or if he should announce statewide restrictions.
Photo via Governor of Virginia/Facebook