Ahead of Tropical Storm Isaias hitting the D.C. region, Fairfax County officials and forecasters are sharing resources and tips to help people prepare for the storm.
“Significant flash flooding of small streams and creeks is likely tonight into Tuesday evening as rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Isaias spreads northward,” according to Fairfax County. Forecasters predict that the storm will bring 3-6 inches of rain.
Currently, the Tysons area is under a Tropical Storm Warning, which means that tropical storm-force winds are expected somewhere within this area within the next 36 hours,” according to National Weather Service.
Due to flooding risks, Fairfax County officials are reminding drivers to turn around if they see water and don’t know how deep it is. The county also tweeted out contact information for the appropriate people to call if someone spots a downed tree.
NWS wants people to protect property in flood-prone areas.
The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang tweeted that waves of heavy rain are expected to hit the D.C. region by Tuesday morning and that commuters should allow for extra time.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for southern Maryland and nearby waters. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for other areas along and east of I-95. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect this evening through Tuesday evening. See https://t.co/5RyZgoXicj for further details. pic.twitter.com/keywY8cceB
— NWS Baltimore-Washington (@NWS_BaltWash) August 3, 2020
#Isaias and DC-MD-VA! Short thread…
* Tropical storm and flash flood watch out for large parts of the region
* High confidence in heavy rain. NWS has INCREASED our rain forecast to 4-6" along I-95 corridor, 2-4" to west, 5 to 7" east. (1/x) pic.twitter.com/en6NftxHD2
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) August 3, 2020
Image via NWS Baltimore-Washington/Twitter
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
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the U.S., some jurisdictions are turning to domestic travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
D.C. recently announced that people arriving from 27 states considered to be COVID-19 “hotspots” for nonessential business will be required to quarantine for two weeks. Several states, including Florida, Hawaii and Maine have asked certain visitors to self-quarantine, according to legal site Justia.
Virginia is among the states listed on the travel advisories for New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, Patch reported.
“Virginia currently does not have any quarantine requirements upon arrival from travel within the U.S.,” according to the Virginia Department of Health, adding that international travelers are asked to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted a warning on Saturday (July 25), saying that the state might have to bring back more COVID-19 restrictions if cases continue to rise, especially in the eastern part of the state near the beaches.
We will be watching the public health data closely over the weekend––if the numbers don't come down, we may have to take additional steps to blunt the spread of this virus.
Wear a mask and practice physical distancing so we don't have to move back.
Be smart and stay safe.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) July 25, 2020
Northam is scheduled to deliver a COVID-19 update today (Tuesday).
Let us know in the poll if you think he should put domestic travel restrictions in place.
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson/Unsplash
Fairfax County Public Schools has reversed course and now plans to have a fully virtual start new school returns in a few weeks.
On Tuesday, the Fairfax County School Board approved the virtual start after FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said that he was worried about staff feeling comfortable returning for instruction in the classroom.
Previously, the school system was going to give parents the option to choose between fully online learning or a hybrid model with a combination of in-person and virtual learning.
In early July, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos slammed FCPS as a “disaster” and DeVos, along with President Donald Trump, said that schools must open in the fall. Yesterday, Trump said that schools may need to delay opening as COVID-19 cases rise.
When Tysons Reporter asked readers on Monday, July 13, which option they liked, roughly 45% said they would choose fully online learning, while 39% picked the hybrid model.
Now that the school system has switched to the fully virtual option to kick off the school year, we want to know what your thoughts are. Do you agree with the school system’s decision?
Families and school systems are starting to make plans for when school starts again in the fall.
For Fairfax County Public Schools, students will either learn fully online or with a combination of in-person and online classes.
Roughly 45% of respondents to our poll earlier this week on learning options said they prefer fully online classes, while about 40% said they want the hybrid model. Approximately 15% of the respondents said they either don’t know which to choose or that the topic doesn’t apply to them.
FCPS and county officials are worried about childcare options for working parents, especially ones who can’t work from home.
Let us know in the poll before if you are facing childcare challenges ahead of school starting back up. Feel free to discuss in the comments section what your experience has been like.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
The deadline is nearing for families to decide how they want their kids to return to Fairfax County public schools this year.
Families have until Wednesday, July 15, to complete a form indicating whether they want their kids to take fully online classes or join a hybrid model combining in-person and online learning.
Families who pick the fully online option would have four days of synchronous learning. The hybrid model would combine two days of learning in schools with asynchronous online learning.
Superintendent Scott Brabrand has said that the school system will consider adding more in-person days — not to exceed four — depending on the demand for the hybrid model.
For families who are having trouble deciding, Brabrand encourages parents to see how their kids react to wearing a face covering for six hours — the amount of time they would need to wear it while at school.
No matter which option parents pick, students will return to the county’s public schools on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Let us know in the poll below what your preference is for students returning to school this fall.
Virginia started Phase Three of reopening last week, opening the door to more options for indoor public spaces like restaurants and fitness centers.
The recent surge of coronavirus cases in California and Texas has led to growing doubts that indoor dining and bar services will — or should — open soon.
While Virginia is fortunate enough to see the number of new cases per day on the decline, some suggest that indoor dining should remain closed to further slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Bolstered by a growing body of research, public health officials say that indoor dining poses more dangerous health risks than other retail activities, even with social distancing. Patrons can breathe indoor air that is contaminated by the virus and air conditioning.
But restaurants — some of which are already struggling due to previous closures and restrictions — may need indoor dining to remain in-tact in order to survive.
Let us know what you think. Should Virginia continue with Phase Three restrictions or try to preempt a resurgence by closing indoor dining completely?
Photo via Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash
July marks the fifth month of reported COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County — and testing for the virus is becoming more widely available.
In total, Fairfax County has seen more than 14,000 COVID-19 cases, 1,600 hospitalizations and 495 deaths since March, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The number of cases reported daily has been decreasing for the last few months while testing has ramped up in the Fairfax Health District, according to the state health data.
People can get a viral test — called a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test — to test for a current infection or antibody tests, which test for recent or past infections, according to Fairfax County.
The Tysons area has several testing sites, including Inova Urgent Care and certain CVS stores. People looking to get tested can check out lists of testing sites from the VDH website, Fairfax County and CVS.
Fairfax County officials are encouraging residents with symptoms to get tested, along with supporting increased contact tracing efforts and community testing sites.
When we asked readers in May, roughly 82% (316 votes) said they had not gotten a test yet, while 14% (55) said they planned to and 4% (14) said they had been tested. Now, we want to see whether or not more that’s changed/
Let us know in the poll below, and if you’re willing to share, we’d be interested in hearing what your COVID-19 testing experience was like. Feel free to share in the comments or send us an email at [email protected]
Several Tysons-area fireworks and festivities for Independence Day have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
The McLean Community Center. Town of Vienna and City of Falls Church called off their fireworks display. Falls Church said that it canceled the fireworks due to construction on the new George Mason High School.
“The city previously said an alternative event would be planned,” Patch reported on Falls Church. “The Recreation and Parks Department is putting together a virtual scavenger hunt for the Fourth of July. Details will be announced at a later time.”
Fireworks are still set to take place in D.C., though.
People in Vienna looking for an alternative can order a “4th of July in a Box” package for $20. Meanwhile, Fairfax County has advice for using fireworks safely and determining which are illegal and legal.
Let us know in the poll below what you plan to do for the Fourth of July.
Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash
People who have missed hitting the gym for the last few months are seeing options reopen.
Several gyms and yoga studios in the Tysons-area pivoted to online classes in April. Ahead of Northern Virginia starting to ease COVID-19 restrictions, some fitness center owners and clients pushed for more opportunities.
Now, fitness centers are allowed to open indoor spaces at 30% occupancy under Phase Two, which Northern Virginia entered June 12.
Fairfax County offers indoor and outdoor public swimming only for lap swimming, diving, exercise and instruction. Public pools, including community pools, are not allowed to open for recreational use.
When Virginia enters Phase Three, Gov. Ralph Northam said that pools and gyms may open at 75% capacity. The date for when Virginia will enter that phase has not been announced yet.
Just because pools and gyms can open in limited capacities doesn’t mean that they will. Some gyms, like 24 Hour Fitness in Tysons, won’t reopen at all.
We want to know how you feel about going back to the gym during the pandemic. Let us know in the poll below.
Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash