COVID-19 Updates & Resources

As updates in our community and across the Commonwealth continue to develop, I wanted to provide you with a consolidated hub of state and local resources. Moving forward, I will continue to prioritize the health and safety of Virginians, take every precautionary measure necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our Commonwealth and work tirelessly on behalf of affected working families and individuals, as well as small businesses.

Be sure to sign up below to receive my electronic newsletter and receive these updates directly.

Updates

Phase 3

Governor Northam announced that the entire Commonwealth is planning to move into Phase 3 of reopening on July 1st. 

Your efforts, as well as the actions of our Commonwealth, have helped to protect the health and safety of every Virginian.

As we plan to move into Phase 3, Virginians will remain required to wear face coverings in public, indoor settings and are strongly advised to continue practicing social distancing.

Among other changes, Phase 3 will allow gatherings of up to 250 people. Non-essential retail & restaurant capacity limits will be lifted.

Below you can find a comparison of changes between Phase 2 and Phase 3.

Slides from the Governor’s presentation can be found here.

Phase Three guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.

Phase 3 guidelines can be found in Spanish here.

School Reopening Plan

Governor Northam announced a plan that will allow Virginia schools to gradually resume in-person classes for summer school and the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. Under this plan, All Pre K-12 schools in Virginia will be required to deliver new instruction to students for the 2020-2021 academic year.

This plan was developed by the Office of the Secretary of Education, Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) based upon guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni held 35 strategy sessions with 800 diverse leaders and stakeholders in education with the Return to School Recovery Task Force, the Accreditation Task Force, and the Continuity for Learning Task Force in order to collect input on various reopening scenarios.

Under the Governor’s plan, local school divisions will have flexibility and discretion to implement strategies that best fit their locality, so long as they adhere to the public health and safety guidance provided by the Commonwealth. The start of each phase in a school district is dependent on the locality’s achievement of certain public health data benchmarks.

The opportunities for in-person instruction in each phase are as follows:

  • Phase One: special education programs and child care for working families
  • Phase Two: Phase One plus preschool through third grade students, English learners, and summer camps in school buildings
  • Phase Three: all students may receive in-person instruction as can be accommodated with strict social distancing measures in place, which may require alternative schedules that blend in-person and remote learning for students
  • Beyond Phase Three: divisions will resume “new-normal” operations under future guidance

Detailed information on each phase can be found here.

VDOE has also developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools, which will be made available at doe.virginia.gov tomorrow.

In every phase, PreK-12 schools must follow CDC Guidance for Schools, including social and physical distancing, enhanced health and hygiene procedures, cleaning and disinfecting measures, and other mitigation strategies.

41st District Resources

Fairfax County Public Schools

To ensure continuity of services for students and families, FCPS has expanded grab-and-go food distribution to more than 34 FCPS sites. All students enrolled in FCPS schools and other County children 18 years of age and under receive one meal at no-cost; and, may have additional meals at no-cost upon request. Effective Tuesday, March 24th, the grab and go meals will be available from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Breakfast and lunch are available at the same time.

Additionally, FCPS buses are delivering grab and go meals along some bus routes.  School buses will stop at designated locations for delivery.

You may click here for a full map of FCPS grab and go locations, community meal distribution sites, food pantries, and other related services in and around the 41st District.

FCPS Resources for Students with Disabilities

Fairfax County Public Schools has assembled a resource page for students who are involved with special education programs or related services.

For more information and guidance from the Virginia Department of Education, you may click here.

Fairfax County Government Resources

Fairfax County COVID-19 Dashboard

The Fairfax County Department of Health has established a COVID-19 data dashboard, which displays up-to-date case information in the Fairfax Health District. The dashboard features maps and graphic displays organized by locality, combined ZIP codes, race and ethnicity, as well as age. It also features a case trajectory and curve of new cases. Click here to view the dashboard.

Fairfax County Tool for Seniors

Click here for an interactive map of grocery stores in and around the 41st District that offer exclusive shopping hours for seniors.

2020 Census

For the first time ever, individuals are able to complete their census forms online, via phone, or mail.

DMV

DMV has opened a number of locations with limited services available by appointment onlyClick here to view precautionary measures the DMV is taking to protect the health of those seeking critical in-person services.

To accommodate social distancing and minimize volume, appointments will be required and available for select services. If customers can conduct their transaction online or by mail, they should continue to do so.

Appointments can be made by visiting www.dmvNOW.com/appt or by calling 804-497-7100.

REAL ID Enforcement

Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf issued a statement extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline from Oct 1, 2020 to Oct 1, 2021.

Virginia Railway Express

The VRE has reduced service in response to changing transportation needs and health guidelines. For the time being, VRE will run an “S” schedule on each of its two lines and will return to normal service as the current situation allows. The rail service’s management continues to monitor the situation. 

Housing Security

Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons granted Governor Northam’s request for a temporary statewide moratorium on all eviction proceedings in Virginia. The order will remain in effect through June 28th and will halt all eviction proceedings during this time.

Click here for the Governor’s press release on the eviction moratorium.

I also wanted to remind you of the Commonwealth’s “Stay Home Virginia” website, which is a consolidation of many useful tools, helpful information, and resources for renters, homeowners, landlords, and those experiencing homelessness.The website also outlines summaries of both the federal and state protections in place. 

Ways to Help

As many individuals, families, workers and businesses are affected during this difficult time, there are a number of ways we can support our neighbors in the community.

Reminder to Take Precautionary Measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Mental Health Resources & Emergency Numbers

  • If you are in crisis, text NEEDHELP to 85511, call 1-800-273-TALK, or dial 911; TTY dial 711
  • CrisisLink Regional Hotline: 703-527-4077 (CrisisLink is a hotline for individuals in crisis or family/friends seeking guidance for how to help a loved one)
  • Dominion Hospital Assessment and Referral Line: 703-536-2000
  • Inova Emergency Services: 703-289-7560
  • Mobile Crisis Unit: 1-844-627-4747
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE
  • Merrifield Center Emergency Services: 703-573-5679; TTY dial 711 (The Merrifield Center of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, offers a range of clinical programming. Emergency Services, staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week, works with people in psychiatric crisis who need immediate attention.)
  • Plan D Nova https://www.plandnova.org/ (a website for Northern Virginia teens who suffer from depression)
  • Fairfax County’s 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 703-360-7273.
  • Domestic Violence Action Center: 703-246-4573.

Statewide Resources & Guidance

Face Coverings in Public Indoor Settings

Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, which requires Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings and directs the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) to develop temporary standards to prevent exposure to COVID-19 in workplace settings. This order is now in effect until amended or rescinded.

Exemptions to these guidelines include:

  • individuals actively eating and drinking at a food and beverage establishment;
  • individuals who are exercising;
  • children under the age of two;
  • a person seeking to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, for which the mouth needs to be visible;
  • and anyone with a health condition that keeps them from wearing a face covering. 

Click here to read the full text of Executive Order 63.

Click here to read the Governor’s Press Release on Executive Order 63.

Absentee Voting Agreement

Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the Commonwealth has reached an agreement, which a judge has approved, that will secure safe absentee voting during the June 23rd primaries. Per the terms of the proposed consent decree, the Commonwealth will accept absentee ballots without the signature of a witness “for voters who believe they may not safely have a witness present while completing their ballot.” Click here to view the brief in support of the agreement.

VDH COVIDCheck

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) website now has a tool called “COVIDCheck”. This tool allows individuals to check their symptoms, find a test, and get answers to their health questions. COVIDCheck allows users to enter their symptoms and receive a recommendation on next steps. Click here to use COVIDCheck.

Prescription of High-Demand Medicine

State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver sent a letter to clinicians regarding the proper protocol for supplying patients with prescription medicine during this time. That letter can be found here.

Virginia Medical Reserve Corps

The Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is seeking individuals to volunteer with the corps. Click here for more information on the MRC.

Increased Access to Health Care 
The Commonwealth is increasing access to health care for 1.5 million Virginian Medicaid members and thousands of low-income residents by:

  • Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment;
  • Ensuring current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances;
  • Allowing Medicaid members to receive a 90-day supply of routine prescriptions, an increase of 60 additional days;
  • Waiving pre-approval requirements for critical medical services, and allowing automatic extensions of approvals currently in place;
  • Encouraging the use of telehealth services by expanding access.

Additionally, the Governor signed Executive Order 52 to allow for a quicker increase of bed capacity for general hospitals and nursing homes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Child Care Assistance & Guidance

The Governor also announced $70 Million in Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Funding would be provided to child care for essential workers in our Commonwealth. For more information on the funding plan and how to apply, click here.

Additionally, the Department of Social Services (DSS) has modified Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy program to increase support and flexibility for enrolled families and providers by:

  • Expanding eligibility for designated school-aged children from part-day care to full-day care.
  • Increasing the number of paid absences from 36 to 76 days for both level 1 and level 2 providers.
  • Extending eligibility for families due for redetermination by 2 months and temporarily suspending the requirement for face-to-face interviews.

Additionally, child care providers are strongly advised to:

  • Limit capacity to 10 total individuals per room and prioritize care for children of essential personnel;
  • Have children eat meals in their classroom;
  • Increase distance to students and providers as much as possible;
  • Ensure care providers and students focus on essential precautionary measures, such as regular hand washing and cleaning frequently touched objects.

Parents seeking a child care provider can call (866) KIDS-TLC or (866) 543 – 7852.

SNAP Benefits Expanded to Include Online Orders

Virginians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will now able to pay for their groceries online and have them delivered. This is after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Virginia to participate in an innovative online purchasing pilot program – the first time such a program has been available. 

Online shopping access is available through the Amazon and Walmart’s online platforms. Transactions will take place using SNAP customers’ secure Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay for fees of any type, such as delivery, service, or convenience fees.

Click here to read the Governor’s full press release on the expansion.

Support for Affected Workers

As we take precautionary measures across the Commonwealth, the Virginia Employment Commission will waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible. Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19 or if they have been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer. You may click here or more information on how to file a claim.

In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.

For individuals receiving unemployment insurance, the Virginia Employment Commission will give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.

For more information and assistance, you may consider referring to the Virginia Employment Commission’s Frequently Asked Questions guide.

Support for Impacted Employers & Businesses

The Governor is authorizing rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs. Moreover, the Governor is recommending all employers to follow U.S. Department of Labor guidance on workplace safety.

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses.

PPP Loan Replenishment for Small Businesses

On Thursday, April 23rd, additional funding was provided in the new COVID-19 relief package passed by the U.S. Congress. As a result, the U.S. Small Business Administration has resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications. For more information on PPP loans and how to apply, click here.

Guidance for Remote Notarization

Given an increase in requests for Remote Online Notarization, the Governor has published guidelines regarding Electronic Notary Applications. For more info click here.

Consumer Protection

The Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration has activated the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act, which prohibits suppliers unreasonably raising prices on essential goods. If you believe that price gouging is taking place, please alert the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. For more information on anti-price gouging measures being taking, you may click here

Virginians should also continue to stay vigilant and guard against anyone looking to take advantage of seniors at this time through online or in-person scams.

Justice-Involved Population

Local, regional, and state public safety agencies are working in close coordination to ensure the safety of employees and residents in correctional facilities.

On March 19th, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) announced it would suspend all in-person visitation to state correctional facilities and would susupend all transfers from local and regional jails for the next 30 days.

Governor Northam is encouraging local criminal justice officials, including Commonwealth’s attorneys, defense attorneys, sheriffs, and other jail officials, to explore proactive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring public safety. These recommendations include:

  • Allowing sentence modifications that can reduce populations within the jails;
  • Diverting offenders from being admitted into jail prior to trial, including the use of summonses by law enforcement in lieu of arrest and use of local pretrial programs as available;
  • Considering ways to reduce low-risk offenders that are being held without bail in jails.
  • Utilizing alternative solutions to incarceration such as home electronic monitoring.

For more information regarding actions taken by Virginia Department of Corrections, you may click here.

Student Loan Forgiveness Relief

The Governor has announced relief options for more than 200,000 Virginians with privately held student loans. The relief is the result of a new initiative by Virginia and other states to expand on protections for federal student loan borrowers through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. For more information click here.

Resources from the Virginia Department of Health & the Centers for Disease Control

I encourage all Virginians to visit the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) website, vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus, or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html, to learn more about the virus and how they can protect themselves and their families.

VDH Updated Guidance on Testing for COVID-19

Protecting High-Risk Virginians

Those with chronic health conditions or aged 65 or older should self-quarantine. Public health experts advise that individuals with underlying medical conditions and those aged 65 or older are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 

I strongly encourage members of our community to regularly check in, via phone, with friends and family who are high-risk individuals.

Here are a few tips to assist those who may be in greatest need.

Remaining In Touch

As we move forward, I will continue to be in contact with you all, my constituents in the 41st district and Virginians across the Commonwealth, providing updates on state, local and federal actions to maintain public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Once again, please take care of yourselves during these challenging times – I wish you, your family and your friends good health.

It is my privilege to serve in the House of Delegates on your behalf and address the issues that face the 41st District and the Commonwealth as a whole. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any assistance from my office.

Last Updated 6/23/20 4:47 PM

For COVID-19 Updates & ResourcesCLICK HERE